The move follows ASAI research that suggests most consumers have lost trust with social media influencers, with more than half trusting brand advertising more than influencer posts.
The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) plans to use AI to clamp down on social media posts that mislead consumers.
The regulatory body said this technology will evaluate the activity of social media influencers to assess if they are disclosing content correctly.
The goal is to ensure social media content is authentic and doesn’t breach the organisation’s rules, such as a sponsored post not being labelled as advertising.
The decision comes as new ASAI research suggests most consumers have lost trust with influencers, with more than half of consumers trusting brand advertising more than social media posts by influencers.
More than half of those surveyed by the ASAI said they are concerned by the lack of transparency in influencer marketing. Some of the top “annoying” influencer traits that consumers listed include edited photos and not coming across as authentic.
Only 10pc of consumers said they have trust in influencer posts, while more than 62pc said influencers post too much sponsored content.
ASAI CEO Orla Twomey said the results echo a report released last December by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
“Both the ASAI research and the CCPC report show that there is a need for more transparency from influencers with regard to labelling their sponsored content clearly and correctly, as well as more guidance and education for both consumers and influencers alike in this space,” Twomey said
“To help with this we are planning to continue implementing the use of AI tools and working with the CCPC to develop further guidance.”
The CCPC report also warned that consumers may be overconfident in their ability to detect marketing posts by influencers and “they may be more vulnerable to misleading marketing than they think”.
CCPC member Kevin O’Brien said platforms and brands must take “greater responsibility for educating and informing their users” and support influencers in clearly labelling paid content so “consumers are not misled”.
“We look forward to working with the ASAI in developing guidance which will assist influencers, brands and consumers in this regard,” O’Brien said.
Concerns around influencers improperly sharing sponsored content has grown among certain regulators in recent years.
Last October, Kim Kardashian was fined $1.26m in the US for promoting a cryptocurrency on Instagram without revealing she had been paid to do so.
The chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, said the case served as a “reminder to celebrities and others that the law requires them to disclose to the public when and how much they are paid to promote investing in securities”.
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