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ACCC targets social media influencers after 150 tipoffs

A massive “sweep” is being carried out by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to identify misleading testimonials and endorsements by social media influencers.

Based on more than 150 tip-offs from the public, the regulator is set to investigate at least 100 influencers on beauty, lifestyle, parenting and fashion channels for failing to disclose their affiliation with products or companies they are promoting.

Influencers receive financial compensation for promoting products or services from companies. When they fail to be transparent about their existing relationship or arrangement with their followers, it prevents consumers from making informed choices, the ACCC says.

Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said the number of tip-offs reflects the community concern about the “ever-increasing number of manipulative marketing techniques” used on social media.

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

“It is important social media influencers are clear if there are any commercial motivations behind their posts.”

The regulator will review a range of social media platforms including Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook and live streaming service, Twitch.

The commission will publish the findings once the results are analysed.

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