30,000 followers makes you an Internet “celebrity,” says UK ad regulator


Enlarge / Some voices shout more loudly into the abyss of the Internet than others. (credit: getty | Thomas Barwick)

One of the stranger questions of our modern era: when does being “Internet famous” translate into being, well, actually famous? According to a UK regulator, the magic number is 30,000 followers.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued a ruling Wednesday in a case featuring drugmaker Sanofi. A British lifestyle blogger with 32,000 Instagram followers shared a sponsored post in February featuring an image of, and talking about, one of Sanofi’s products, an antihistamine and sleep aid called Phenergan Night Time tablets.

The ASA said the Instagram ad constituted celebrity endorsement of a medication, which is not allowed under UK law. Sanofi responded that the 32,000 followers that particular lifestyle blogger had at the time was significantly fewer than major celebrities such as comedian Stephen Fry (359,000 followers) or soccer star David Beckham (55 million followers), and therefore the ad should not be subject to the rules.

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