A push for more transparency in regards to paid content has lead to a crackdown from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on social media content creators. The watchdog has asked the public to identify influencers failing to disclose when their posts are, in fact, paid ads. To date, more than 100 influencers have been identified for investigation, with that number tipped to rise in coming days.
Platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat, YouTube, Facebook and Twitch are all being monitored for offenders, with over 150 tip-offs from the public so far.
“The number of tip-offs reflects the community concern about the ever-increasing number of manipulative marketing techniques on social media, designed to exploit or pressure consumers into purchasing goods or services,” said ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb.
News of this crackdown has one satire page editor worried about links between articles posted by their site and taking cash for comment. Wishing to remain anonymous, they spoke to the Sentinel about their reasons for concern:
“We’ve established a reputation upon playing the every-man, sharing content we hoped everyday Aussies from Gen X to your average Millennial would find relatable”, they said. They then explained how they managed to turn their page into an overnight success story:
“Using the lingo and cultural references recognisable to our target demographic helped our content go viral. It went to our heads a bit and we started inserting our own personal takes on controversial current issues under the guise of satire, fuck the 50% of our readers who thought differently. Next thing, companies are paying us to write articles placing their product front and centre. We tried our hardest to make it seem incidental, like it was just a funny story incidentally featuring the sponsors product.” At this point our contact wiped the sweat off their brow. “It’s one thing to shill for political parties and NGO’s, but if word gets out that we shilled for business just as much as your standard Liberal politician, then our reputation as these envelope-pushing straight-shooters is over. Over, I tell you!”
To date, nobody from the satire page has been named officially. However, editors of the Sentinel noticed a sudden surge in ads for leather boots, novelty beer and tea brands appearing on their feed after following said satire page, for monitoring purposes.