ACCC warns celebrities over paid tweets

Celebrities and personalities who are paid to tweet do not necessarily need to disclose they are being paid, the competition watchdog says.

But they need to be careful about whether their tweet or Facebook post is truthful and whether they have actually road-tested the product or service.

That was the conclusion of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after examining tweets by celebrity chef Matt Moran and singer Shannon Noll that had promoted South Australia as a tourism destination. They were outed by ABC's Media Watch last month, which had established that each had been paid $750 to tweet about Kangaroo Island but had failed to disclose the fact to their followers.

ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said that failure to disclose whether they were getting paid to tweet was not ''best practice'' but didn't break any consumer laws.

''I don't think Mr Moran went far enough and he was being clever in what he said,'' she said. ''But if [he] had said: 'I had been to Kangaroo Island with my family and had stayed here, here and here' and all of that was untrue then that would be a much more straight-forward case of misrepresentation.''

Both Moran and Noll had said that they had ''heard'' Kangaroo Island was a good place to visit.


Ms Court issued a warning to celebrities who are being paid.

''I think personalities should be very careful about what they endorse and how they do it,'' she said.

An ad or an endorsement, regardless of the medium used, needs to be truthful, she said.

''I don't see this as a whole new kind of way to break the law. It is old conduct in a new medium.''