Zoella, Rita Ora and Alexa Chung among influencers forced to declare sponsored posts more clearly

If the social media stars fail to comply they could face legal action leading to heavy fines or even prison sentences

Sirena Bergman
Wednesday 23 January 2019 17:23
Comments
Zoella responds to backlash over her £50 advent calendar

As any social media addict will know, there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing someone post a glowing review of an item and wondering whether it really is as great as they claim, or they have a vested interest in selling it to you.

Now, 16 social media stars have formally agreed to be more transparent about the products they post about online, making it easier for the consumer to discern the reliability of endorsements.

Influencers including Zoella, Ellie Goulding and Alexa Chung have committed to clearly disclosing whether they have been paid to mention a product or service, and even whether it has been gifted to them for free.

The move follows an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has claimed that if the influencers fail to comply they could face legal action leading to heavy fines or even prison sentences.

Posts which have been paid for by brands will need to be clearly labelled with #ad or #spon, for example. The CMA suggests #freebie when posting about items which have not been paid for by the influencer, which is common during brand trips and events, or PO box "hauls" – both common ways in which brands can get a free mention from an influencer without paying for an ad.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “Influencers can have a huge impact on what their fans decide to buy. People could, quite rightly, feel misled if what they thought was a recommendation from someone they admired turns out to be a marketing ploy.”

This echoes the feeling among many viewers that the way influencers disclose sponsorships is unclear and often disingenuous. There are even YouTube channels dedicated to calling out influencers for their actions.

Earlier this month, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced it had cautioned "between 200 and 300" influencers for breaking the rules around paid-for posts on social media.

Further influencers who have agreed to the CMA guidelines include Jim Chapman, Binky Felstead, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Michelle Keegan and Rita Ora.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in