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IMTB response to oral evidence about virtual influencers 

 August 13, 2021

IMTB provides context and further information about virtual influencers and influencers' freedom of expression to oral evidence as part of Parliament's inquiry into ‘influencer culture.’

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The Influencer Marketing Trade Body ("IMTB") has written to the UK Parliament's inquiry into influencer culture to offer context and further information about certain discussion points made during oral evidence. 

The subject of virtual influencers was raised during the questioning of Keith Weed by committee member Giles Watling on 13th July as part of the opening day of oral evidence for Parliament's inquiry into influencer culture.  

The discussion described the 'hacking ' of the Instagram account of one virtual influencer, Lil Miquela, by 'rival' virtual influencer, Bermuda. The Influencer Marketing Trade Body has written to the select committee to provide context of this hacking and its potential commercial benefits.

The IMTB additionally advocates virtual influencers should be watermarked. The mark would designate three pieces of information to protect consumers:

  1. Disclosure - The virtual human is virtual, not human. 
  2. Ownership - The details of its owner. 
  3. Motivation - The motivations driving the creation of this content.


Influencers' freedom of expression

The IMTB provides additional comment regarding the brief discussion between Giles Watling and Keith Weed of  Prof. Jonathan Hardy’s written testimony. Prof. Hary's evidence touched on brand safety and an influencer’s freedom of expression. The IMTB believes it is in the interests of both advertiser and influencer to form a relationship based on mutual values and outlook. 


About the Influencer Marketing Trade Body

The Influencer Marketing Trade Body is the professional membership organisation for influencer marketing agencies and influencer marketing platforms. The IMTB is dedicated to building a robust, sustainable future for the influencer marketing industry through increased accountability, governance and a unified voice.

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