On 23 January 2019, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released a Guide on social media endorsements made by popular social media users, known in the industry as influencers. The Guide requires that influencers make it clear when they have been paid, given or loaned things which are then featured in their Instagram, Snapchat or other social media posts. The guidance also asks influencers to be transparent about their relationship with a brand or business, highlighting that consumer protection law requires that posts must not be misleading.
The CMA publication comes just four months after the Advertising Standards Authority published their own guidance for social media influencers. Both guides come amid rising concerns about the power social media platforms have to influence behaviour, and the impact more generally that technology is having on our everyday lives.
On this topic of technology and its influence of social structures, over summer 2018 the International Institute of Communications ran an essay competition for its “Future Leaders.” The topic for discussion was “The Sociology of Technology.” Preiskel & Co Trainee, Claire Barraclough, came runner-up for her essay which considered the impacts and influence technology can have on society through analysis of the television show, Love Island, as a case study.
The essay is titled Love Island and its Influence: an exploration of the interplay between technology and sociology, and can be downloaded here.