CIPR Condemns Celebrities Faking Popularity

Following reports over the weekend in the US media and in The Times today, the CIPR condemned the dishonest and deliberately misleading practice of buying social media support. According to the reports celebrities including Paul Hollywood, Baroness Lane-Fox and James Cracknell have purchased ‘followers’ in order to boost their social media presence and fake their perceived popularity.

According to the reports, Devumi – the company who were selling the followers - also appear to have engaged in widespread identity theft to create thousands of fake social media profiles and build the false impression of global popularity for its celebrity clients.

Kevin Taylor FCIPR, Chair of the Professional Practices Committee
Astroturfing – the practice of buying ‘fake grass roots support’ – aims to overstate the popularity of a person or a campaign. It is a dishonest trick played on the public. Any organisation or individual deliberately misleading people to think they have more supporters or followers in any context is acting unethically and against the public interest. It is a clear breach of our professional code of conduct.

This story is a timely reminder that ethically-practiced professional PR is a safeguard for the public, as well as for clients and employers, against this sort of unscrupulous and illegal behaviour.
Kevin Taylor FCIPR, Chair of the Professional Practices Committee

Photo Credit: Flickr user gdsteam

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).