ASAI to crack down on bloggers misleading followers over paid content
It's understood that bloggers who refuse to disclose factual information will be named and shamed.
Social media influencers, bloggers and public profiles with large followings are being warned of the repercussions should they mislead their followers.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASAI) has recently updated their information regarding bloggers and influencers, stating that they need to make it absolutely clear about when content is paid for.
Payment, as outlined by the ASAI, covers compensation, cash, free products, free services, reciprocal arrangements or anything akin to benefit in kind.
The authority hosted an "educate and inform" event at Facebook's headquarters in Dublin on Friday morning in which they informed over 100 agencies, brands and bloggers on when they need to disclose that something is an advert.
Orla Twomey, CEO of the ASAI now getting into examples and scenarios with @aldunneUnique. “If there is payment or control over free products, then it must be disclosed. #ASAI #InformandEngage pic.twitter.com/nY9T8UJvh6
— The_ASAI (@The_ASAI) April 13, 2018
ASAI CEO Orla Twomey stated that the authority will share the names and details of anyone who doesn't comply with the authorities rules.
“The sanction is against both blogger and advertiser,” she said.
“It is the ‘name and shame’ sanction where we will publish the adjudication of the complaints committee. Their reputation – their brand reputation – is very important to them.
“So they need to be careful [in case] their follower thinks they are likely to be misled by them”, she concluded.
Under ASAI rules, any sponsored post must come with a hashtag (either #AD #SPON) indicating that the content has been paid for.
Speaking at the event, Twomey continued by saying that consumers need to know when they are being advertised to.
“There is nothing wrong with a blogger and a brand working together to co-create content,” she said.
“We don’t have an issue with that. It is just that we think consumers should know when they are being advertised to. So we just want to make sure that everybody is crystal clear about what they need to do and when they need to do it.”
The ASAI event comes as a number of anonymous Instagram accounts have been set up to point out when social influencers are being disingenuous to their followers.
These accounts have gained momentum in recent months, causing social media users to question bloggers' authenticity and bloggers to admit their wrongdoings.
Last year, the ASAI introduced guidance on the ‘Recognisability of Marketing Communications’ aimed at ensuring Irish consumers are not misled by influencer marketing through online advertisements on blogs and social media websites.