Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Rita Ora Pledge Social Media Transparency

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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority gets pledges from 16 celebrities after launching an investigation into "concerns that social media stars are not properly declaring when they have been paid, or otherwise rewarded, to endorse goods or services."

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Wednesday that 16 celebrities, including Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, have agreed to disclose clearly if they have been paid or received any gifts or loans of products they endorse on social media.

Former Coronation Street and Our Girl actress Michelle Keegan and TV reality stars Millie Mackintosh and Megan McKenna have also committed to doing so.

Last summer, the CMA launched an investigation into "concerns that social media stars are not properly declaring when they have been paid, or otherwise rewarded, to endorse goods or services."

In cases where influencers are paid or rewarded to promote, review or talk about a product on their social media feeds, U.K. consumer protection law requires that this must be made clear. "Otherwise, they risk giving a misleading impression that a post represents their personal view about a product or service," the CMA said Wednesday.

"Influencers can have a huge impact on what their fans decide to buy. People could, quite rightly, feel misled if what they thought was a recommendation from someone they admired turns out to be a marketing ploy," explained CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli. "You should be able to tell as soon as you look at a post if there is some form of payment or reward involved, so you can decide whether something is really worth spending your hard-earned money on."

The competition authority also said Wednesday that it has sent warning letters to "a number of other celebrities, urging them to review their practices where some concerns have been identified." The CMA added that further investigation work will look at the role and responsibilities of social media platforms.

"The enforcement action taken by the CMA has seen a number of social media stars pledge to be more transparent when posting online," said Coscelli. "It also sends a clear message to all influencers, brands and businesses that they must be open and clear with their followers."