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Watchdog puts social influencers on notice

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Social media influencers who mislead their followers are facing a crackdown from the consumer watchdog as part of a push for more transparency.

More than 100 influencers have been identified for investigation after over 150 tip-offs to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The watchdog asked people to identify any influencers who weren’t disclosing when their posts constituted paid ads.

Influencers in the beauty and lifestyle industries were identified as having the most problematic posts, while those in the parenting and fashion fields were also likely to be subject to scrutiny.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said law firms and industry bodies were reminding influencer clients about their responsibilities online as a result of the sweep.

“The number of tip-offs reflects the community 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.

“With more Australians choosing to shop online, consumers often rely on reviews and testimonials when making purchases, but misleading endorsements can be very harmful.”

Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook and live-streaming service Twitch are all being monitored by the watchdog.

The sweep is looking at sectors where influencer marketing is widespread, including fashion, beauty and cosmetics, food and beverage, travel, health fitness and wellbeing, parenting, gaming and technology.

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