Molly-Mae has been warned by watchdogs after her £8k giveaway was ruled as unfair


In September, it felt like the entire world was on pause when Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague did a giveaway worth £8,000 to celebrate hitting one million subscribers on YouTube. But now, she’s been warned by watchdogs for failing to make sure a giveaway on her Instagram to her five million followers was fair.

The complaint against her was upheld after 12 people believed that not all entrants were included in the “final draw”. In the competition, she gave her followers a chance to win prizes including Louis Vuitton luggage, Apple products and loads of goods from her tanning brand. At the time she even said her management had struggled to work out how to pick a winner fairly, given that the post had three million comments.

Molly-Mae Hague, giveaway, Instagram, ASA, ruling, unfair

via Instagram @mollymaehague

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the £8,000 value prize was not administered fairly and was not found to be in accordance with the laws of chance. As a result, Molly-Mae was told by the ASA to ensure all contests and giveaways are fair and to use computer software to ensure that prizes are given out fairly and not to those with more “visibility”. The Instagram algorithm pushes users with more followers and likes – especially verified users – to the top of posts and are more likely to be seen than those who do not.

A spokesperson for ASA told The Tab that should Molly-Mae Hague have another unfair giveaway, they would have to “consider further sanctions”.

Molly-Mae said she had instructed a member of her management team to pick a group of participants at random that could be publicly seen to be following her profiles. These were all manually selected out of a hat. She said that was done due to the high number of entrants, which prohibited the use of computer software to pick a winner.

Each of the 100 participants shortlisted were manually checked to verify that they had followed all profiles and had completed each step of the competition requirements – if they hadn’t, they were replaced with someone else. From that group of 100 entries, the winner was chosen using a Google number picker.

Molly-Mae Hague, giveaway, Instagram, ASA, ruling, unfair, Love Island

via Instagram @mollymaehague

The ASA said that she should have been able to anticipate such a high-level of interest in the competition, given her follower count. The watchdog said: “We understood that computer software was available which could have made a random selection from the respondents to the post, but that Ms Hague had chosen not to use it.

“Instead, Ms Hague’s response to the complaints stated that a group of 100 participants were chosen at random out of a hat, from which a winner was chosen by a computer programme. However, we had not seen evidence to show that the initial selection was made randomly.

“It was not clear what the size of the pool of entries was from which the smaller group was drawn from the hat, or what criteria had been applied to select them, other than that they were publicly following Ms Hague’s profile. We understood from Ms Hague’s response that the full competition requirements had only been applied to the selected group of 100 entries.

“At the same time, an Instagram Story from Ms Hague’s account after the promotion’s closing date stated that a smaller shortlisted group of 25 was entered into a computer programme to determine the winner, and stated that all those selected had entered more than once.

“We were concerned by the inconsistencies in the information provided, but in either case, we had not seen evidence to show that the shortlisted participants were chosen randomly. Although Ms Hague indicated that the eventual prize winner was selected randomly using computer software, we had not seen evidence to show that was the case either.

“We had not seen evidence that the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and by an independent person or under the supervision of an independent person.”

An ASA spokesperson further added: “We told Molly Mae Hague to ensure their future promotions were administered fairly and that prizes were awarded to genuine winners in accordance with the laws of chance and by an independent person or under the supervision of an independent person.”

The ASA further told The Tab: “It is also worth noting that this is the first time Molly-Mae has broken our prize draw rules and that she regularly complies with our rules on ad disclosure.”

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