ASA escalates sanctions against six Instagram influencers for “consistently failing to disclose ads” on their accounts

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has named six influencers it says are “consistently failing to disclose advertising” on Instagram, despite repeated warnings and help and guidance on sticking to the rules. 

In June 2021, the ASA set up a webpage naming influencers that, despite warnings, do not repeatedly disclose that their social media posts are actually ads or reassure them that they will do so in the future. This followed its proactive monitoring sweep that discovered inconsistent ad disclosure by influencers on Instagram through Stories, posts and Reels, with the disclosure rules being followed (when posts were ads) only 35% of the time. 

Francesca Allen, Jess Gale, Eve Gale, Belle Hassan, Jodie Marsh and Anna Vakili have all previously been named as not flagging ads in their posts, Stories or Reels. Since going on the webpage, they have failed to abide by the advertising rules and improve disclosure. The ASA said it is now taking out ads against these influencers on Instagram, alerting consumers to their failure to follow the rules.

The ASA’s ads read:

“[Name] has been sanctioned by the UK’s ad regulator for not declaring ads on this platform. Be aware that products and services recommended or featured by this influencer may have been paid for by those brands.  Our non-compliant social media influencer page at asa.org.uk is regularly updated to inform consumers of those who break these rules.”

Amber Rose Gill will also be added to our webpage this week for ongoing non-disclosure. We will continue to monitor her content and, if she fails to follow the rules in future, she could also be subject to further sanctions.

The ads the ASA are taking out are an escalation of sanctions, and we are considering further sanctions if needed. This includes working with social media platforms to have the content of non-compliant influencers removed, or refer influencers to statutory bodies such as Trading Standards for consideration of statutory action including possible fines.

In most cases, the use of #ad (or similar) in an upfront and prominent manner is the clearest way of communicating the commercial nature of social media content. Alternatively a platform’s own disclosure tools, such as Instagram’s Paid Partnership tool, can also help to distinguish advertising from other content.

Written by Maya Robertson

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