CHOICE membership

Social media influencers spruiking dodgy products

I read with interest this article on Vox about Instagram influencers posting advertising for big pharma to their followers, including controversial Botox treatments. The article makes the point that, while influencers are required to disclose any advertising links, in many cases this does not occur or is done in such a way that could easily be confused or missed. The fast-moving world of digital technology has clearly outpaced regulation and rules, and consumers may be wearing the brunt of the problem. Beyond this, there is the general quality and tone of the advertising and the products being spruiked.

For those who use other social networks (or come across this in the news), be sure to ad your examples here. You might even help us Spot A Shonky! :lemon:


I ignore social media such as FB, Twits, insta-whatevers etc, so I have only come across this “influencers” phenomenon on news bulletins or in an occasional post as above, but the whole concept sounds shonky to me!
Do people really get sucked in by it??? Surely the … victims must realise that these people are being paid to promote stuff?


I don’t think they care. They are desperate to be ‘one with the influencer and in the group’. Otherwise they would not care about the influencer or what they peddle.


This technique for dissemination of information is not new, just a different platform.

The US has been doing it for years with the likes of Oprah and locally on the ‘current affair’ type programs. They have been spoofing miracle cosmetics, products, diets etc for decades. I can’t recall these shows disclosing why the infotainment article has been broadcast (disclosure).

Notwithstanding this, where there is any payment for comment where ones reputation is being used to sell, there should be disclosure of the advertising link (or payment for comment).

Didn’t a well known broadcaster get in hot water for something similar?

Maybe tougher rules need to be introduced for all media platforms?


The biggest one I know of is the Fyre Festival.

Jail time for the promoters. The influencers are being looked at very closely now and may loose a lot more than their credibility.


@gordon I agree in some cases it is pretty plain to see what is going on, and @TheBBG is spot on about the tribe mentality in play. I think there’s also a factor of reaching someone who is vulnerable to a message due to a perceived problem, who then hears that message from someone that they idolise at some level. The commercial nature of the situation and other rationale that would otherwise be applied then takes a back seat.

I often think about the ‘cash for comment’ scandal in relation to social media. It was a big deal at the time, and yet sadly we often soo social influencers with much bigger audiences, viewing the message on the same device that will take them to the storefront. At least with cash for comment, you were probably in the car and would have to chase down the item later!

An example we looked at in the recent past is Hi Smile and here is the Instgram post with over 1.8 million likes. Please note, the latter link may be consider NSFW for some (depending on yours or your workplace’s sensitivity) and I only post it as an example of the topic at hand.

Fyre festival is another great example, at least there were some repurcussions (although there is already talk of Fyre Festival 2)


An article by a cardiothoracic surgeon regarding influencers and the dodgy products and beliefs that they promote.