We’ve all seen the #ad sponsored posts all over our Instagram in recent months after the ASA banned undisclosed ads on social media last year. For the most part, the types of posts from influencers are relatively harmless, and some of us might have even been sucked into using a discount code here and an affiliate link there.

However, we’ve also all probably noticed a couple of posts which look an awful lot like sponsored content, without the #ad signpost. Complaints against ads like these on social media have skyrocketed in the past six months, with figures from the ASA showing that there have been 793 complaints so far this year compared to 352 in 2018.

More concerning than undisclosed ads are those for ‘health supplements’ such as weight loss pills and teas, which promote unhealthy weight loss to impressionable, often young audiences. This week, reality star Jemma Lucy was branded “irresponsible” for promoting weight loss supplements from “The Skinny Caffe”, and claiming that they can help you lose 7lbs in seven days, while she was pregnant. The post was banned by the ASA, and doctors have also called for a ban on diet pill advertisements on social media.

We aren’t surprised that the number of complaints about sponsored posts has doubled in the last six months, as the amount of #ad posts have also doubled in the last year, with 1.7m being posted already in 2019. With more ads on social media, it seems logical that complaints would also increase.

We know that in order to create a successful partnership, brands have to do their homework on the influencers they partner with to avoid negative backlash, and we’re glad to see the ASA taking action against potentially harmful posts, like Jemma’s, which promote dangerous behaviours.