April 12, 2021
The Committee says that its inquiry will examine the power of influencers on social media and how influencer culture operates. It will also consider the absence of regulation on the promotion of products or services, aside from the existing policies of individual platforms. An investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority found that more than three-quarters of influencers “buried their disclosures within their posts”.
The inquiry will also assess influencer impact when it comes to media and popular culture as well as the positive role they can play, such as raising awareness for a campaign addressing vaccine hesitancy among people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The DCMS Committee is inviting written submissions on the following areas:
- How would you define “influencers” and “influencer culture”? Is this a new phenomenon?
- Has “influencing” impacted popular culture? If so, how has society and/or culture changed because of this side of social media?
- Is it right that influencers are predominantly associated with advertising and consumerism, and if not, what other roles do influencers fulfil online?
- How are tech companies encouraging or disrupting the activities of influencing?
- How aware are users of the arrangements between influencers and advertisers? Should policymakers, tech companies and influencers and advertisers themselves do more to ensure these arrangements are transparent?
On the operation and impact of influencer culture, DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said “There’s concern that while influencers are useful to advertisers in reaching the right markets on social media, there is a lack of transparency around the promotion of products or services. We’ll be looking at whether there’s a need for tighter regulation in this area and what form that might take”.
Written submissions should be made by 7 May 2021. To access the inquiry pages, click here.