On 27 January 2023, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced that it has initiated a “social media sweep” to detect misleading testimonials and endorsements by influencers. The sweep involves reviewing the posts of over 100 influencers that were reported to the ACCC through tip-offs from the public. The ACCC is particularly concerned with influencers who failed to disclose their relationship with a company or product.
The social media platforms being reviewed include Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat, and Twitch. The ACCC has also placed a focus on sectors in which influencer marketing is prevalent, such as beauty and cosmetics, health and fitness, food and beverages, fashion, travel, gaming, technology, and parenting.
In accordance with the Australian Association of National Advertisers’ (AANA) Code of Ethics, advertising must be clearly distinguishable and the influencer’s relationship with a brand must be evident to the audience. The Australian Influencer Marketing Council’s (AiMCO) Australian Influencer Marketing Code of Practice provides recommendations for clear and unambiguous disclosures for paid, gift, and value-in-kind engagements. This includes guidelines on placement, legibility, and abbreviation of disclosures, as well as recommendations for video and live stream content.
Aside from influencers, the ACCC will also be reviewing the roles of brands, advertisers, and marketers in enabling misconduct on social media platforms. Direct selling companies should take this opportunity to train their salesforces on the proper use of social media, particularly with regards to testimonials and endorsements.
It is also important to note that posting paid testimonials on social media in connection with the use of therapeutic goods is strictly prohibited by the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.
As a precaution, direct selling companies should conduct their own internal sweep of their brand ambassadors’ and salesforces’ social media activities to ensure compliance.
At LSW Lawyers, our commercial law team are dedicated to providing legal guidance and support to businesses navigating the ever-changing landscape of social media and influencer marketing.
Contact a member of our commercial law team to learn more about how we can help your company remain compliant and protected.
Important Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.