Social media users reported more than 100 influencers to the regulator.
Most of the tips were about beauty, lifestyle, parenting, and fashion influencers who did not follow ad disclosure requirements. The focus on influencers is part of a wider sweep in 2023 targeting industries rich in influencer marketing, in addition to a crackdown on deceptive environmental and sustainability marketing and false or misleading online business reviews.
ACCC President Gina Cass-Gottlieb thanked people for using influencers they think are not doing the right thing.
“The number of tips reflects community concerns about the ever-increasing number of manipulative social media marketing techniques designed to exploit or pressure consumers to purchase goods or services,” she said.
The ACCC will review a range of social media platforms, including Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube, to identify deceptive marketing practices by influencers with both large and small followings. The watchdog is also considering the role of third-party advertisers, marketers, brands and other digital platforms in facilitating misconduct.
The findings will be analyzed and published as part of ACCC’s 6th interim report Research on digital platform services.
Cass-Gottlieb said the ACCC remains concerned that influencers, advertisers and brands are trying to hide the financial benefits of product promotions from consumers.
“With more Australians choosing to shop online, consumers often rely on reviews and testimonials when making purchases, but misleading recommendations can be very harmful,” she said.
“It is important that influencers on social media are clear whether there are commercial motives behind their messages. This also applies to the positions that are promoted and presented as impartial, but are not.
“The ACCC will not hesitate to take action when we see that consumers are at risk of being misled or misled by a testimonial and there is the potential for significant harm.”