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The ACCC completed a sweep across seven sectors and found that 81 per cent of influencers were responsible for misleading advertising.
The ACCC completed a sweep across seven sectors and found that 81 per cent of influencers were responsible for misleading advertising.

Misleading advertising: Consumer watchdog issues warning

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning to retailers and brands using social media influencers to promote their business.

The ACCC completed a sweep across seven sectors and found that 81 per cent of influencers were responsible for misleading advertising.

The most common issue was a failure to disclose commercial relationships, which included sharing posts by brands, prominently featuring products in their posts, and not consistently using advertising disclosure tools.

“Many of the influencers we reviewed did not make adequate disclosures in their posts where it appeared they were receiving payment, gifts or other incentives to promote brands, products or services,” acting chair Catriona Lowe said.

Catriona Lowe,  ACCC deputy chair
Catriona Lowe,  ACCC deputy chair
“Our sweep indicates that some businesses are manipulating online reviews to present a more favourable impression of their business to consumers,”
Catriona Lowe, ACCC

“Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses must not mislead or deceive consumers. This applies to influencers engaging in trade or commerce, as well as brands and marketers using influencers to advertise online.”

The ACCC has also published the findings of a review of online reviews for businesses, revealing that 37 per cent of those reviewed had engaged in ‘concerning conduct’.

The sweep mainly concerned businesses using third-party professional reviewers and review removalists to manage their digital reputation.

“Our sweep indicates that some businesses are manipulating online reviews to present a more favourable impression of their business to consumers,” Lowe added.

“Misleading reviews cause considerable harm to consumers who increasingly seek out and rely on online reviews to help them make a purchase.”

Lowe said influencers and businesses need to review their practices and comply with the Australian Consumer Law to improve consumer trust online.

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