An influencer and former Love Island contestant has been found to have breached UK advertising rules by not properly labelling a TikTok post as an ad.
Tasha Ghouri was paid by EMI Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Ltd, to feature Hold me Closer by Elton John and Britney Spears in a TikTok video but it was not sufficiently clear the post was an ad, the advertising regulator said.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said merely posting “soundad” did not make it clear the post and the soundtrack was paid for brand marketing.
The common hashtag, used to delineate sponsored soundtracks from standard video sounds, could be interpreted as a misspelling of “sounded”, the watchdog said.
It was also “unlikely” that all UK TikTok users would understand the meaning of the label “soundad”, it added.
Another factor was the location of “soundad” in the post’s caption. The “ad” part of the label was insufficiently prominent, the ASA found.
The video was uploaded on 3 November and is a montage of Ms Ghouri’s work and general life, accompanied by a caption which reads: “(heart emoji) #TinyDancer #HoldMeCloser soundad”.
A further caption says “(music note symbol) Hold Me Closer – Joel Corry Remix – Elton John & Britney Spears”.
Text at the beginning of the video says “POV [point of view]: you’re doing what you’re passionate about”. On the next line it says “Using my voice (heart emoji)”.
The video was still accessible on TikTok on Tuesday evening with the language outlined in the ruling, despite the ASA banning the ad.
The ASA ruling said: “The ad must not appear again in the form complained of.”
“We told Universal Music Operations Ltd and Tasha Ghouri to ensure that their future posts were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, including where the audio content of a post was advertising, for example, by including a clear and prominent identifier such as “#ad” at a minimum.”
Aside from the song the content of the TikTok reel was not sponsored. The amount Ms Ghouri received for the ad was not disclosed.
In response to the complaint, which the regulator upheld, Ms Ghouri, said the caption clearly stated “soundad” in the first line which she believed was more than sufficient to identify the track as an ad.
EMI Records said it was their standard practice when working with influencers to ask for the “musicad” or “soundad” tag to be used. They believed that was an appropriate and obvious way to identify when an influencer had been paid to use a piece of music.
Ms Ghouri appeared in season 8 of Love Island in 2022 which was won by Ekin Su Cülcüloğlu and Davide Sanclimenti.. She was the first deaf person to appear on the show.
In addition to working as an ambassador for fashion and beauty brands, Ms Ghouri began work on a podcast in February.
Her TikTok page had 820.9K followers, 20.5m likes as of 18 April.