Celebrity influencers to be probed over social media endorsements
LONDON — The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will investigate celebrities and “influencers” over concerns that some are not properly declaring they have been paid or rewarded to endorse a good or service.
Under current consumer law so-called “influencers” must make clear if they have been paid or rewarded to promote a brand to their millions of followers, who often tune in to see where they go on holiday, what they wear, which products they use and the books they read.
In a statement issued today the CMA said it had asked celebrities and social media influencers for more information about their posts and business agreements after seeing posts appearing to promote or endorse products, or offer a personal opinion, without clearly stating if the post had been paid for.
The CMA will not yet disclose which celebrities are under investigation. It will take enforcement action if consumer law has been broken.
George Lusty, the CMAs senior director for consumer protection, said: “Social media stars can have a big influence on what their followers do and buy. If people see clothes, cosmetics, a car, or a holiday being plugged by someone they admire, they might be swayed into buying it.”
He added: “So, its really important they are clearly told whether a celebrity is promoting a product because they have bought it themselves, or because they have been paid or thanked in some way by the brand.”