The Australia Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) is combing through social media platforms to identify influencers that don’t disclose affiliations with the product and company they’re promoting.
Social media users reported more than 100 influencers to the regulator.
Most tip-offs were about beauty, lifestyle, parenting, and fashion influencers who failed to follow the advertising disclosure requirements. The focus on influencers is part of a broader sweep in 2023 targeting influencer marketing-rich sectors alongside crackdowns on misleading environmental and sustainability marketing and fake or misleading online business reviews.
ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb thanked people for dobbing in influencers they believe are not doing the right thing.
“The number of tip-offs reflects the community’s concern about the ever-increasing number of manipulative marketing techniques on social media, designed to exploit or pressure consumers into purchasing goods or services,” she said.
The ACCC will review a range of social media platforms, including Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, Snapchat, and Youtube, to identify deceptive marketing practices by influencers with both large and small followings. The watchdog is also considering the role of third-party advertisers, marketers, brands, and other digital platforms in facilitating misconduct.
The findings will be analysed and published as part of ACCC’s 6th interim report of Digital Platform Services Inquiry.
Cass-Gottlieb said the ACCC remains concerned that influencers, advertisers, and brands are attempting to hide financial benefits from product promotions from consumers.
“With more Australians choosing to shop online, consumers often rely on reviews and testimonials when making purchases, but misleading endorsements can be very harmful,” she said.
“It is important social media influencers are clear if there are any commercial motivations behind their posts. This includes those posts that are incentivised and presented as impartial but are not.
“The ACCC will not hesitate to take action where we see consumers are at risk of being misled or deceived by a testimonial and there is potential for significant harm.”
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