You’re now going to be able to tell if your fave celeb or influencer was paid for a post

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Rex)

Hands up if you've ever been influenced by an Instagram post to buy a dress, top, or beauty product? I've certainly parted with my hard-earned cash after seeing my favourite fashion bloggers wearing a must-have item - like the Topshop satin skirt.

But do you realise that sometimes, it's the result of an Instagram ad rather than a more organic interest in the item? That's because it's not always clear that they've been paid to post it.

But that's all about to change thanks to a new ruling by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who last August launched an investigation 'concerns that social media stars are not properly declaring when they have been paid, or otherwise rewarded, to endorse goods or services.'

They targeted 16 celebrities and influencers, who included Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Millie Mackintosh and Zoella, and realised that it was not always clear from the get-go whether a product post was an ad or not.

While no sanctions have been given, the CMA sent a warning letter to all of the above that they needed to be more transparent, to which they agreed.

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli explained, 'Influencers can have a huge impact on what their fans decide to buy. People could, quite rightly, feel misled if what they thought was a recommendation from someone they admired turns out to be a marketing ploy. You should be able to tell as soon as you look at a post if there is some form of payment or reward involved, so you can decide whether something is really worth spending your hard-earned money on.'

So in theory, you'll now immediately be able to tell whether a post is an ad (for example if it's tagged as a paid partnership), and therefore make a conscious decision whether to go and buy the product or service or not.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.