ASA launches crackdown on Botox ads on Instagram

ASA and Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency have launched joint clampdown.

Botox: ASA and CAP launch campaign to raise awareness of ad regulations
Botox: ASA and CAP launch campaign to raise awareness of ad regulations

The Advertising Standards Authority and the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency have fired a warning shot to Botox advertisers in the UK after they found widespread, illegal marketing of the cosmetic procedure online.

The regulators have issued an enforcement notice to the cosmetics industry, calling for the "immediate" takedown of ads promoting Botox and other botulinum toxin injections on social media platforms.

Under advertising rules, promoting such procedures is prohibited. However, the ASA said it had found widespread flouting of the regulations on social media.

The watchdog is now launching a crackdown of paid-for ads, non-paid-for posts and influencer marketing, beginning with Instagram.

From 31 January, the ASA will use "monitoring technology" to discover problematic ads and flag them for removal to Instagram owner Facebook. 

It will refer non-compliant sellers to the MHRA, which has investigatory and enforcement powers.

The Committee of Advertising Practice will also roll out a targeted ad campaign across Facebook to raise awareness of the issue.  

"We’re taking action to tackle Botox ads on social media using brand new monitoring technology. This tool helps us to be more efficient and effective in identifying and removing problem ads," ASA chief executive Guy Parker said.

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