Social media influencers are being paid to promote the federal government's COVIDsafe app, as questions surround the app's effectiveness in identifying coronavirus cases.
High-profile users on the social media platform TikTok have been paid hundreds of dollars for posting a video telling other users to download the app.
Videos from multiple accounts, some with more than 5 million followers, appeared in a three-day blitz on the platform earlier this month, all with similar messaging.
The paid promotion has been linked to the lobby group Let Us Play, which has called on Australians to download the COVIDsafe app to allow for sports events and live music concerts to resume.
The group has been backed by several high-profile sports stars, including Melbourne Storm great Cameron Smith, Collingwood Magpies coach Nathan Buckley and Australian netball player Caitlin Bassett.
The federal health department said the paid promotions of the app through influencers on platforms such as TikTok was not part of the national campaign by the federal government in advertising COVIDsafe.
More than 6.6 million people have downloaded the app since its launch in April.
Nikita Kostoglou, who is one half of the TikTok account @kosti.sistas along with her sibling Daniela, said she was paid $600 by Let Us Play to promote the app.
Ms Kostoglou, who has more than 200,000 followers on her account, told The Canberra Times the amount of money for advertising the app was larger than other paid promotions she had done before.
"We were given free rein of how the video could be done," she said.
"We chose to agree to the promotional video as we support the use of the app so we were happy to advertise it."
It's not known how many social media users were approached to promote the app, or how much the total cost of the promote the app.
Let Us Play was contacted for comment.
The lobby said on its website the app was essential in order for parts of Australian society to get back to what it was pre-pandemic.
"By downloading the COVIDsafe app, we take ourselves one step closer to being able to meet at our favourite football stadium, or netball court or basketball court. It really is as simple as that," a statement on the website reads.
While downloads of the app surged in the days after its launch, the number of new people downloading it in recent weeks has fallen off.
As numbers of new coronavirus cases increase in Victoria, health authorities in the state said the app did not provide new information about COVID-19 that wasn't already gathered through existing contact tracing methods.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said more than 200 contacts of known cases have been identified using the app.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the app was "Australia's ticket to a COVID-safe Australia", when it was launched, but Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has called it a "$2 million dud".
A spokeswoman for the Department of Heath said the department had actively promoted the app since it was available for download.
"Downloading the app is a call-to-action as part of communication materials places across television, radio, print, digital and social channels," the spokeswoman said.
"Some community and commercial organisations and social media influencers have promoted the app using a range of communication mechanisms but this is not part of the national campaign."