The ACCC Is Cracking Down On Influencers Who Fail To Clearly Disclose Paid Partnerships To Their Followers

Social media influencers who fail to disclose paid partnerships to their followers are facing a crackdown from the consumer watchdog, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)

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

The watchdog asked people to identify any influencers who weren't disclosing paid partnership posts on their platforms.

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.

Established influencers and up-and-comers will be investigated. 

Watchdog chairwoman Gina Cass-Gottlieb said the number of tip-offs was concerning and suggested manipulative marketing techniques were on the rise.

She said consumers were drawn to influencer testimonials because they were relatable and seemed like an ordinary person's recommendation.

"We find with online purchasing that people take a lot of note and are persuaded by influencers," Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

She urged influencers to be truthful about any kind of financial benefit they were receiving for posts.

"We want them to be honest, we want them to be up front."

"Social influencers can offer consumers a great way to access information and ideas," he said.

"But that comes with the responsibility to be up front with followers about commercial arrangements."

Back in 2021, The Bachelor winner and lawyer turned influencer, Anna Heinrich, became the first known Aussie influencer to be fined for failing to adhere to AANA’s distinguishable advertising rules. 

It came after she reportedly failed to clearly state that the product she featured and promoted in a dedicated Instagram post was a paid partnership with the brand.

In February 2021, Ad Standards introduced strict guidelines that influencers and content creators were required to adhere to when producing paid content. 

They stipulate paid posts must include “clearly distinguishable” tags, such as the hashtag #ad or phrases like “paid partnership” or “advert.” 

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

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.

Federal Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones welcomed the watchdog's investigation.