June 21, 2021
The ASA has launched a new dedicated page on its website highlighting individual influencers who, despite being put on notice that they would face further sanctions if they did not follow the advertising rules, have repeatedly failed to disclose when their Instagram posts are ads.
In March 2021, the ASA published its Influencer Monitoring Report, examining levels of ad disclosure on Instagram through 122 UK-based influencer accounts. It discovered inconsistent disclosure through Stories, posts and Reels, with the rules being followed (when posts were ads) only 35% of the time. In response to ongoing rule breaking following this monitoring sweep, the ASA has launched a non-compliance webpage that will name influencers who have broken the rules.
To date, the ASA has named four influencers who were all contacted by the compliance team and asked to provide an assurance that they would include clear and upfront ad labels in their advertising posts. They either failed to provide that assurance in the first instance or subsequently reneged on it.
Named influencers will be on the webpage for three months and subject to a period of enhanced monitoring spot checks. Other influencers who similarly break the rules repeatedly will be added over time. If named influencers continue to break the rules around non-disclosure, the ASA has further sanctions it can implement, including taking out ads against them, working with social media platforms to have their content removed or referring them to statutory bodies for possible fines.
The ASA will also be looking to take action against brands that repeatedly fail to disclose ads or do not provide assurances that they will properly label ads in future. To read the ASA’s announcement in full and for a link to the new web page, click here.