UK advertising authority warns two former 'Love Island' contestants for crypto ads on Instagram stories
The Gale twins are barred from posting crypto ads in the complained form. Elizabeth O'Donell accused of hiding potential crypto trading risks
By Shashank Bhardwaj
Twins Eve and Jessica Gale on Love Island 2020. Image: ITV/Love Island
Eve and Jessica Gale, former Love Island twin contestants, have been warned to stop misleading their Instagram followers with pro-crypto posts. The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stated in a Wednesday notice that the twins had trivialised investment in cryptocurrency. It all began in June when the two reality stars promoted crypto on Instagram at the request of an influencer named Elizabeth O'Donell. The authorities upheld claims that the advertisement was 'misleading' and 'irresponsible.'
In an official statement, ASA said, "We therefore considered the ads were addressed to a general audience who were unlikely to have any specialist knowledge of investing in crypto assets…In the absence of any other information to the contrary, we considered that consumers would interpret the overall impression from the ads to mean that investment in crypto assets was simple and risk-free, even to those consumers who had only limited knowledge of crypto assets."
The twins, who have 1.7 million Instagram followers combined, encouraged their followers to contact Elizabeth's account in two separate stories. Eve's Instagram story from June 2022 included a video in which she said, "Hey guys. So I just wanted to introduce you to a girl called Elizabeth who I recently met on my travels and she works in crypto. So saving and investing, and she literally breaks it down and makes it so much easier to understand. Teaches you guys how to make money from your phone in such an easy way. So I would definitely recommend. If you guys are interested all you have to do is send her a DM and tell her I sent you."
Jessica encouraged her followers to visit Elizabeth O'Donell's account, stating that crypto is basically a super quick, easy way of making extra money from your phone. According to the reports, O'Donell was not only providing crypto trading advice but also promoting crypto investment without illustrating the potential risks.
The ads violated the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion, and Direct Marketing because they were not prepared with a sense of responsibility. Following a warning, the British regulator may refer an advertiser who violates its regulations to Trading Standards (TS), a local government agency in the United Kingdom. The agency may further pursue legal action or impose penalties on the violator, such as fines. With this warning, the twins are barred from posting the crypto ads 'in the form complained about' again. However, they can promote digital assets in future social media advertisements abiding by the law.
The Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom is awaiting new legislation that would give it the authority to treat crypto advertisements similarly to other financial promotions, which would include holding limits and buyer warnings. Until then, the ASA has declared that combating misleading crypto promotions is a 'red alert' priority.
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash
Crypto wallet users are warned as scammers might get active during the potential Ethereum hard fork