Entertainment

Five Love Islanders added to watchlist for social media ad disclosure failings

The advertising watchdog said influencers needed to treat their followers fairly by being clear about when their posts were ads.

Former Love Islanders Eve Gale, Jess Gale, Belle Hassan, Francesca Allen and Anna Vakili have been named by the advertising watchdog for repeatedly failing to disclose ads on their social media.

They are the latest names to have been listed on a dedicated page on the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) website, as the regulator escalates enforcement action against influencers who do not make it clear to followers when they have received payment for a post despite being put on notice.

The five influencers will remain on the list for three months and be subjected to enhanced spot checks by the ASA’s monitoring teams.

Animal Hero Awards 2019 – London
Belle Hassan is among the people named by the ASA (David Parry/PA)

The ASA warned that other brands and influencers would be added if they similarly repeatedly broke the rules.

Previous names to have made the list include influencers Chloe Ferry, Chloe Khan, Jodie Marsh and Lucy Mecklenburgh.

The watchdog revealed in March that it had been monitoring the Instagram accounts of 122 UK-based influencers, finding that its rules around ad disclosure were being followed 35% of the time.

The watchdog warned that the latest batch of Love Island stars needed to treat their followers fairly by being upfront and clear with them about when their posts were ads.

The rules state that it must be obvious to consumers before they read, “like” or otherwise interact with a social media post if what they are engaging with is advertising.

The ASA has worked with ITV to create a “cheat sheet” for contestants on the show with dedicated guidance to help them understand how and when the rules apply to them.

Shahriar Coupal, director of advertising policy and practice at the ASA, said: “We prefer to work with influencers and brands to help them stick to the rules but the latest cohort to be added to our wall have repeatedly failed to be upfront and clear when their social media posts are ads.

“Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse, particularly given we created dedicated guidance for Love Island contestants and we’ve given them every opportunity to get their houses in order. It’s not difficult: disclose when your content is an ad.

“If these influencers fail to do better, we won’t hesitate to consider further sanctions.”

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