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CMA warns celebrities over social media endorsements

A number of celebrities have been warned about endorsing products on social media sites such as YouTube and Twitter without declaring they had been paid to do so, the UK government has said.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), also warned the firms paying them and forced the intermediary, Social Chain, to undertake to stop. But the CMA insisted on keeping the names of the public figures and the companies secret.

A CMA investigation found that Social Chain arranged for “widely followed social media personalities” to promote films, games and apps without declaring that the content was paid-for advertising. It added that Social Chain organised 19 marketing campaigns featuring undisclosed advertising in a four-month period last year.  The posts appeared on social media accounts with a “combined reach of around four million followers” and some of the campaigns “trended on Twitter, which may have increased their readership further”.

The CMA wrote to 43 celebrities and 15 businesses to “warn them that arranging or publishing advertising that is not clearly labelled may result in them breaching consumer protection law”.

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