Italy’s Antitrust authority announced on Friday that it has initiated an investigation into Meta-Instagram and prominent Italian influencer Asia Valente for purportedly sharing misleading content on her Instagram account.
The probe focuses on Valente’s alleged failure to disclose the promotional nature of posts featuring various establishments, including restaurants, spas, and hotels, with which she is suspected of having undisclosed commercial agreements, reported Ansa.
Asia Valente, known for her extensive following of around two million on Instagram, is now facing accusations of misleading her audience by not transparently declaring the commercial affiliations behind her posts. The Antitrust authority contends that Valente’s fame is built on a substantial number of followers, but it raised concerns over the authenticity of her followers, stating that “most of them seem to be not authentic.”
Furthermore, the investigation has targeted Meta, the parent company of Instagram, accusing it of negligence in preventing the dissemination of potentially misleading content on its platform. The Antitrust authority alleges that Meta failed to take appropriate action to curb the publication of content that could mislead Valente’s followers.
The crux of the matter revolves around the ethical responsibilities of influencers to disclose any commercial relationships that may influence their content. Failure to do so can potentially mislead followers who may believe that the influencer’s endorsement is based solely on personal preference rather than financial gain.
This latest development adds to the growing scrutiny of social media platforms and influencers worldwide. Regulatory bodies are increasingly focusing on ensuring transparency and ethical practices within the rapidly expanding influencer marketing industry.
Both Meta and Asia Valente are expected to cooperate with the Antitrust authority’s investigation, which will likely delve into the specifics of their alleged roles in disseminating potentially misleading content. The outcome of this probe could have significant implications for how influencers and social media platforms operate within Italy and potentially set a precedent for similar cases globally.
As the investigation unfolds, the public and industry stakeholders will be closely watching to see how the Antitrust authority navigates the intricate landscape of influencer marketing