Irish bloggers caught flouting advertising rules will be named and shamed by the State watchdog under a new zero-tolerance policy.
The chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland, Orla Twomey, said it has spent years educating social media stars that they need to disclose when they have been paid to post about a product.
She also confirmed the widely held belief that celebrities get bombarded with free gifts.
When it comes to influencers on sites like Instagram and Twitter, Ms Twomey said the same rules apply to them as traditional media. “Consumers should know when they are being advertised. We’ve been trying to reach out to the blogging community to ensure they realise that where there is payment and control, it makes it a marketing communication and it must be flagged as such.
Up until now, she said, the authority has been working on educating social media influencers about the standards, but it is set to take a tougher approach.
“We feel that everybody knows. From now we won’t take it at face value, ‘I’m sorry I made a mistake’. We don’t fine people but what we do is name and shame. Our complaints committee would issue adjudication.
In Vogue, My Sponsored Life, presenter Vogue Williams tells how she has access to a special site for famous influencers where she can order goods without paying for anything.
The Dublin mum, who has 83,000 Twitter followers and 343,000 Instagram followers, also confirms how gifts regularly arrive at her door and admits she loves the perks of being a celebrity.
Ms Williams also says the world’s biggest social media family, the Kardashians, do influence her.
“Everything Kim puts up, I’m like I need to buy that, and I don’t know why.”
The documentary also features notorious blogger Paul Stenson, who runs the White Moose Café in Dublin, and whose viral outbursts range from barring vegans who question his menu to outing a blogger looking for a free stay.
He reveals how a recent poll found 70% of the people who visit the café were influenced by Snapchat while his famous Bloggergate had a reach of 800m which would have cost him €8.4m in advertising fees.
By Lynn Kelleher – Irish Examiner