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Australia Investigates Online Influencers Over False Advertising

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Australia has announced a crackdown on social media influencers across platforms including TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, with more than 100 accounts expected to be investigated regarding false testimonials and endorsements after tip-offs from the public.

Influencers will be investigated in the coming weeks after more than 150 tip-offs from consumers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement Friday.

The announcement follows similar investigations in the US, including a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission which fined celebrity Kim Kardashian $1.26 million in October for promoting a crypto token without disclosing she was paid for it.

Read More: Influencers Are Scamming Their Fans Through Crypto. Here’s How Their Tactics Have Evolved.

Many of the accounts under investigation in Australia offer beauty, lifestyle, parenting and fashion advice, potentially without disclosing sponsorships or affiliations with particular companies and brands, the ACCC said. Other platforms to be targeted include Snapchat, Facebook and Twitch.

“The ACCC will not hesitate to take action where we see consumers are at risk of being misled or deceived by a testimonial, and there is potential for significant harm,” ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement.

Australia’s Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said the consumer watchdog’s review was a “great move,” adding influencers had a responsibility to be “up front with followers about commercial arrangements.”

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