According to advertising watchdog, you are a social media celebrity if you have more than 30,000 followers

A new ruling declares anyone with more than 30,000 social media followers to be a celebrity and subject to advertising rules. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found Sarah Willox Knott, a mommy blogger to be violating its rules by marketing an over-the-counter sleeping sedative. Since she had a considerable amount of followers, the authority classified her as a ‘celebrity.’

The ruling was the first of its kind where social media ‘celebrities’ were banned from endorsing medical products. It emerged after an Instagram-based blogger posted an image of herself with a packet of Phenergan Night Time Tablets visible in the background. In the caption, she wrote that she was a night owl and often relied on this ‘pharmacy only’ tablets to cure her insomnia. The post was marked as an advertisement for the company behind the product – Sanofi who claimed that they had cleared the promotion with the healthcare trade body beforehand.

However, their appeal was rejected by ASA who indicated that Ms. William Knox had the attention of a significant number of viewers – thus was given the ‘celebrity’ title. The watchdog also claimed that Knott has done more than 1,000 sponsored and recommended posts on her Instagram page.

Nevertheless, the ASA banned the ad and asked Sanofi not to use celebrities or social media influencers to endorse medicines.

After the ruling, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), which represents manufacturers of over-the-counter medications, declared that they would work closely with the ASA and regulate the advertising protocols.

Here, it should be noted that the watchdog would also be periodically checking the smaller social media accounts for any violation to its endorsement rules.

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