The vast majority of posts by Australian social media influencers may have breached advertising standards requiring disclosure of payment, the country’s consumer watchdog said on Friday, adding it was considering “enforcement activity”.
Under a self-regulatory system, advertisers in Australia must disclose commercial agreements and make it clear when a piece of content is an advertisement.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), however, said influencers have no incentive to do so, as their main selling point is usually their authentic tone.
A study by the watchdog revealed concerns about 81% of posts by 118 prominent Australian influencers since January, mostly due to non-disclosure of payments or gifts, or failure to declare the post to be an advertisement .
The most concerning posts came from influencers in the fashion industry, where 96% of posts were labeled “concerning”, followed by a high number of problematic posts by parents and travel influencers, it said. he declares.
“Consumers are unable to make informed choices about their purchases when endorsements and sponsored posts are not clearly disclosed,” ACCC President Gina Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement.
The ACCC’s review is part of a years-long regulatory overhaul that has imposed tougher rules on the world’s biggest internet companies.
The commission said it plans to try to educate influencers and social media companies about their responsibilities.
The Australian Association of National Advertisers, which oversees advertising standards, said it would continue to engage with the industry and the ACCC “to ensure responsible influencer advertising”.
Most influencer activity in Australia takes place on Facebook and Instagram, owned by Meta Platforms Inc.
A Meta spokesperson said the company requires content creators to follow Australian advertising laws and regulations, and that “creators who share branded content on our platforms are required to use the paid partnership.
The ACCC said the global influencer industry is expected to grow to $24.1 billion by 2025, up from $6 billion in 2020.
By Byron Kaye; EditorEdwina Gibbs
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