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Celebrity tweets come under OFT scrutiny

Fair tweeting

Celebrities in the UK are set to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over their use of Twitter. In a controversy that began last year, it has emerged that many stars are being paid to tweet about brands and products.

In December 2010, government body the OFT launched a case against Handpicked Media, a PR company accused of paying celebrities to blog or tweet about products. As a result, the OFT moved to “prohibit any future promotion that does not clearly identify, in a manner prominently displayed with the editorial content such that it would be unavoidable to the average consumer, that the promotion has been paid for or otherwise remunerated.”

Anything to declare?

It is now thought that the authority could bring court cases against the celebrities themselves who failed to declare they were paid to tweet. This form of social media marketing will be able to continue, but will echo the ‘ad’ or ‘spon’ disclaimer enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission. Promotional celebrity tweets are huge business in America, with reality TV star Kim Kardashian picking up a reported $10,000 (£6,443) per tweet.

UK celebrities who have taken to Twitter to sing the praises of their favourite products include:

However, it remains unclear whether these celebrities were in fact paid to tweet, or whether the OFT will be investigating them.

Written by Rachel Hand

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