Choice looks at cash for tweet debate

Choice looks at cash for tweet debate

Consumer advocacy group Choice is taking aim at sponsored tweets, calling for greater clarity around celebrity plugs on social media.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Social media is “awash with dodgy advertorial style posts”, according to Choice’s head of media Tom Godfrey who believes consumers are being tricked.

“Celebrities should disclose any financial reward they receive to promote products and services making the multi-million dollar paid post industry far more transparent,” Godfrey said.

“Consumers shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that because celebrities plug products on social media that they personally use these products and truthfully endorse them.”

Choice referred to Tourism South Australia’s cash for tweet scandal from early last year as an example for the need for greater transparency.

The ABC’s MediaWatch ousted Tourism Australia for promising celebrities including Shannon Noll and TV presenter Sophie Falkiner up to $750 to spruik Kangaroo Island to their Twitter followers.

The email MediaWatch revealed said the tweet must sound “organic”, feature the celebrity’s “own personality” and “they don’t want you to appear endorsed”.

“In the United States and the United Kingdom brands that fail to declare sponsored tweets can be investigated by relevant authorities,” Godfrey added.

“There is currently no law in Australia which enforces people to disclose if they have received payment or gifts.

“With no governance in Australia, celebrities are free to take money or gifts in exchange for endorsement at their discretion.”