On January 23, 2019, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced that it had secured undertakings from 16 social media influencers, including well-known names such as Ellie Goulding, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Rita Ora, that commit each influencer to increased transparency when they promote or endorse brands or services on social media on behalf of businesses.
The CMA stressed that applicable UK consumer law requires that it be made clear when posts are sponsored (i.e., paid or incentivized). The CMA also disclosed that it has sent warning letters to other (unidentified) influencers and celebrities, and indicated it will continue to consider the role of social media platforms in this issue.
This enforcement action, together with the CMA’s recent success in court against secondary ticketing website Viagogo, and more recent threat to take Viagogo to court again, is evidence that consumer protection enforcement remains high on the CMA’s agenda.
Below, we summarise key elements of the undertakings in more detail, and also refer to further available UK regulatory guidance on how to advertise on social media.