Bloggers to be named and shamed for misleading followers over paid content

Online influencers are being warned they must be absolutely clear when content is paid for

Bloggers to be named and shamed for misleading followers over paid content

Social Media Influencer Leanne Lim Walkertrains restaurant staff member Gabriela Dudek at Zizzi in London's Covent Garden, 18-10-2016. Image: David Parry/PA Archive/PA Images

Bloggers and social media influencers are being warned they'll be named and shamed if they mislead their followers.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASAI) is telling the online stars that they need to make it absolutely clear about when content is paid for.

The authority is hosting an "educate and inform" event at Facebook's headquarters in Dublin today.

Over 100 agencies, brands and bloggers will be instructed on when they need to disclose that something is an advert.

Name and shame

ASAI head Orla Twomey said the authority will publish the details of anyone who doesn't admit when their content has been paid for.

“The sanction is against both blogger and advertiser,” she said.

“It is the ‘name and shame’ sanction where we will publish the adjudication of the complaints committee.

“Their reputation – their brand reputation – is very important to them.

“So they need to be careful [in case] their follower thinks they are likely to be misled by them.”

Paid content

She said consumers need to know when they are being advertised to – with more and more brands and influencers working together to co-create content.

“There is nothing wrong with a blogger and a brand working together to co-create content,” she said.

“We don’t have an issue with that.

“It is just that we think consumers should know when they are being advertised to.

“So we just want to make sure that everybody is crystal clear about what they need to do and when they need to do it.”

Under ASAI rules, any sponsored post must come with a hashtag (#AD #SPON) indicating that the content has been paid for.

The ASAI event comes as a number of anonymous Instagram accounts have been set up to 'call out' disingenuous bloggers who they claim aren't being honest with their followers.