Today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published new guidance about advertising Botox and other botulinum toxin injections in the UK after finding illegal marketing of the cosmetic procedure on social media.

Under the advertising rules, promoting such treatments to the public on social media is banned, however, the watchdog has found many companies disregarding the regulations.

The crackdown of paid-for ads, non-paid-for posts and influencer marketing, starting with Instagram, will begin as of January 31. The regulator will use new monitoring technology to automatically discover non-compliant ads and report them to Instagram. Advertisers unwilling to comply could run the risk of being referred to the MHRA, which has enforcement powers.

“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,” said Guy Parker, ASA chief executive.

The Committee of Advertising Practice is also rolling out a targeted ad campaign on Facebook to raise awareness of this issue. This is the furthest-reaching enforcement notice ever issued by CAP, targeting over 130,000 of the wide-ranging businesses within the cosmetics services industry.

“This is an example of how CAP is exploring new, proactive ways of ensuring ads stick to the rules and rising to the challenges presented by the online environment,” commented Shahriar Coupal, the director of the committees of advertising practice.

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