The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has started an investigation on Twitter users and bloggers who endorse products and companies without clearly specifying their relationship with the brand.
The OFT crackdown began when it brought a case against a PR company that paid bloggers to write positive comments about its clients.
According to the OFT, under fair trading rules, online advertising and marketing was “deceptive” if it had not been disclosed that the promotion had been paid for. “This includes comments about services and products on blogs and microblogs such as Twitter,” it said.
Twitter endorsements by celebrities are becoming increasingly common and artists have been known to be paid up to $10,000 simply for sending a tweet endorsing a product.
In the US, the Federal Trade Commission requires bloggers and celebrities who post such endorsements to disclose that they have been paid to do so.
There is little doubt that celebrity endorsements will become increasingly more common in the UK and the aim of the OFT is make sure they are open and honest about their intentions.