Influencer Sophie Hinchcliffe, known as Mrs Hinch on Instagram, is being scrutinised by UK advertising regulator Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Following three complaints of Hinchliffe’s Instagram in April, the ASA has initiated an investigation into her practices online.
The Essex based hairdresser is reportedly the UK’s highest-earning ‘cleanfluencer’ with 2.5m followers on Instagram.
The complaints against Hinchliffe’s content of product advertisements do not abide to the Influencer’s Guide, as published by the ASA and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) clarifying the rules of social media promotions.
Speaking to the BBC, Hinchliffe says, “being authentic and transparent is incredibly important”, and she feels that her “community are clear about any content that is part of a commercial partnership, and that which isn’t”.
Under the Consumer Rights Act, it is illegal for brands or individuals to upload sponsored content without disclosing it. This is a result of the ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority against Mondelez UK Ltd who used five creators in a campaign for Oreo cookies in 2014, yet failed to disclose the monetary relationship between creator and company.
The rules include clear labeling of all paid-for posts, or for items they have been gifted or loaned. All labeling must be prominently displayed at the beginning of the post, and in every instance treated in isolation where a commercial relationship is involved.
Earlier this year, the CMA also warned a handful of social media stars to brush up transparency and disclosure efforts. This including vlogger Zoella and pop star Rita Ora.
Instagram is launching a new branded content tool for companies to promote posts shared by influencers with the tag ‘paid partnership’ alongside the company’s name. This follows a recent Facebook commissioned survey concluding that 68 per cent of Instagram users use it to interact with creators.