Zoe Sugg and 15 other influencers agree to declare when they post ads

24 January 2019, 16:24 | Updated: 28 January 2019, 17:25

zoe sugg prison
Picture: Instagram: Zoe Sugg
Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

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Zoe Sugg, Jim Chapman and Dina Torkia are among a group of influential online personalities who have been warned by the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about their behaviour regarding social media ads.

The law states that paid adverts have to be very clearly labelled on social media, so that ads are not mistaken for genuine, non-commercial testimonials.

The CMA argues that a group of people have not been following the law in this regard and have been therefore misleading their followers into thinking that paid content was unpaid.

People are required to tag sponsored content with either the tag #sponsored or #ad. They also have to declare clearly when they've been sent a product for free as a gift from a company.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, told BBC News: 

“Influencers can have a huge impact on what their fans decide to buy. People could, quite rightly, feel misled if what they thought was a recommendation from someone they admired turns out to be a marketing ploy. You should be able to tell as soon as you look at a post if there is some form of payment or reward involved, so you can decide whether something is really worth spending your hard-earned money on.”

The CMA sent warnings out to sixteen prominent digital celebs, warning that they could face serious consequences. The BBC reports that: "if they fail to comply with the agreement reached with the CMA, they could be taken to court and face heavy fines or prison sentences of up to two years."

In return, all 16 have responded in written letters to the CMA that they will fall in line. T

he full group is: Zoe Sugg, Jim Chapman, Dina Torkia, Camilla Macintosh, Megan McKenna, Chloe Sims, Louise Thompson,  Rita Ora, Michelle Keegan, Alexandra ‘Binky’ Felstead, Holly Hagan, Iskra Lawrence, Ellie Goulding, Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Mario Falcone.