Published in Financial Mail. Advertising body to sanction companies and their influencers if they fail to declare their relationship upfront in social media posts. By Nafisa Akabor.

Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Nicki Minaj and Lindsay Lohan have faced the wrath of authorities in the past for failing to be transparent about their relationships with brands.

“Influencer marketing” is well established in the US and if influencers fail to label their social media posts appropriately, they can be fined. The Federal Trade Commission, an agency of the government, sends out warning letters for disclosure violations on social media.

In SA, influencer marketing is still in its infancy. A code of conduct for the industry was finally released at the end of May. It forms part of the Advertising Regulatory Board’s (ARB) Advertising Code of Practice, and falls under appendix K — the social media code.

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