Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered an immediate review into his own department’s use of Instagram influencers to encourage young women to exercise more.
A report by The Daily Telegraph revealed the Health Department had spent more than $600,000 in taxpayer funds on the #girlsmakeyourmove campaign over the past 18 months.
The spend included paying a number of Instagrammers for posts encouraging their followers to get involved in activities like kickboxing, yoga, surfing, roller derby and rock climbing.
But some of those involved in the campaign have had their level of “influence” questioned and previous controversial conduct brought back into the spotlight.
One of the most popular influencers involved, Lily May Mac, made a public apology last year for tweets she sent in the past using racist language and homophobic slurs, which she described as her “distasteful sense of humour”.
While many of the accounts promoting the Health Department initiative have up to hundreds of thousands of followers, The Daily Telegraph pointed to a report by data analysis firm Lumio that found many accounts were not “valuable” form an advertising perspective.
Several of the influencers working with the campaign have also used their accounts to work with alcohol brands.
Stevie Alger, who shared a number of #girlsmakeyourmove posts, also works with brands including tanning oil and an Australian sparkling wine company.
Mr Hunt today called for an “immediate review of the use of these influencers”.
A spokesperson for Mr Hunt said the Minister “did not endorse these posts and found them offensive”.
The marketing agency responsible for the campaign no longer has the Government advertising contract.