MPs will today call for greater action to be taken to protect children and influencers, arguing that regulation has struggled to keep up.
A report from the DCMS Committee has highlighted that despite the rapid expansion in influencer culture, there are a number of regulatory gaps around employment law and advertising in this space.
Influencers face a range of challenges including hacking, impersonation, algorithmic unpredictability, mental health issues, online abuse and harassment.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) told the inquiry that influencer compliance rates with UK advertising regulations are still unacceptably low.
While the advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) found that just 35 per cent of 24,000 marketing posts on the Instagram of 122 UK-based influencers were clearly labelled as adverts.
In the committee’s view, new laws should focus working hours and conditions, mandate the protection of the child’s earnings, ensure a right to erasure, and bring the child’s labour arrangements under the oversight of local authorities.
DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: “The rise of influencer culture online has brought significant new opportunities for those working in the creative industries and a boost to the UK economy.
“However, as is so often the case where social media is involved, if you dig below the shiny surface of what you see on screen you will discover an altogether murkier world where both the influencers and their followers are at risk of exploitation and harm online”.
Knight added that there was a “woeful lack of protection” for young people, with authorities “playing catch-up” .