The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has said it is reviewing issues relating to social media and consumer protection at a European level.

It comes after a week when the Irish influencer community came under pressure from social media users to become more transparent.

An influencer is described as a person with the ability to sway potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.

Groups are claiming they are misleading their online followers with digitally enhanced products they are promoting or editing pictures beyond real-life recognition.

The discussion over influencer practice also escalated when a Dublin hotel hit out at one social media influencer after they contacted the hotel and asked for a free stay in exchange for a mention on their social media channels.

In Ireland, there is no consumer protection legislation governing the advertising sector and no specific reference to blogging or social media influencers in general consumer law.

The Consumer Protection Act 2007 prohibits traders from providing false or misleading information that could affect a consumer's decision making process.

The CCPC has said they are aware of recent media reports on this specific matter, however the commission has not received any consumer complaints in relation to it in either 2017 or so far in 2018.

It says as an enforcement body, the CCPC cannot take action on anecdotal evidence alone and that its decisions to act on any particular issues are on the basis of a number of criteria, including contacts to its consumer helpline.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland has also weighed in on the social media influencer issue.

ASAI Chief Executive Orla Twomey has said the number of complaints about social media influencers is on the rise. 

Ms Twomey said two years ago it had received no complaints about influencers but they now represent 5% of its overall complaints. She labelled the rise as "significant". 

She said: "It’s important to note that the rules for advertising apply to all media. So it doesn’t matter what publication is being used. The rules are don’t mislead and don’t offend.

"If you are advertising a slimming product and if you take a before and after photograph and if you alter the after photograph and make yourself look thinner, well then you are implying that the product will achieve that result and that’s likely to mislead."

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Dublin blogger and social media influencer Grace Mongey said the manipulation of images is wrong when working with a brand.

She said it is important to be open and honest, and to be "completely transparent is the best way to do things".

Grace left her job two years ago to become a full-time blogger and has gained almost 120,000 followers on Instagram and a reach of 40,000 on Snapchat.

She described the negativity surrounding social media influencers at the moment as "scary".

Another Irish full-time blogger and stylist Lorna Weightman has said influencers can learn from the last few weeks.

She said that hopefully this will make the industry more open, transparent and honest.

As the controversy continues, the ASAI is appealing to social media users that if they see a problem to report it.