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Celebrities and social media influencers sign transparency pact

Lauretta Roberts
23 January 2019

Some 16 celebrities and social media personalities, from Alexa Chung to Jim Chapman and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, have signed a pledge with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) saying they will now state clearly if they have been paid or received any gifts or loans of products which they endorse on their social media channels.

Other influential celebrities, with large online followings, who have acted in response to the CMA’s concerns, include singers Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora, former Coronation Street and Our Girl actress Michelle Keegan and TV reality stars Millie Mackintosh and Megan McKenna.

Together the group have millions of social media followers who respond to their posts and the formal commitment follows action by the CMA, which wants to improve transparency and prevent consumers from being misled by celebrity endorsements. Influencers are required by law to disclose if they have been paid to promote an item or service and not mislead the consumer into thinking it merely represents their personal view.

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.

"You should be able to tell as soon as you look at a post if there is some form of payment or reward involved, so you can decide whether something is really worth spending your hard-earned money on.

"The enforcement action taken by the CMA has seen a number of social media stars pledge to be more transparent when posting online. It also sends a clear message to all influencers, brands and businesses that they must be open and clear with their followers. We will also continue our work to secure more improvement in this space."

Other influencers and celebrities have received warning letters urging them to review their practices where some concerns have been identified.

The CMA has product a quick guide for social media influencers to ensure they are aware of their commitments under consumer protection law. This is in addition to the joint guidance issued with the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) in September.

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