The government has confirmed taxpayer money was used to pay reality TV stars and social media influencers in a bid to promote the struggling NHS Test and Trace scheme.
The Cabinet Office paid social media influencers including Love Island stars Shaughna Phillips, Chris Hughes and Josh Denzel reports The Mirror.
Although dubbed by PM Boris Johnson as a “world beating system” back in May, it failed to reach its 80% target for the ninth consecutive week.
A Downing Street spokesman said the government had a responsibility to “use every means possible” to keep the public informed during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “Our use of social media influencers has meant over seven million people have been reached.
“This is just one part of a wider campaign utilising TV, radio, social, print and other advertisements to ensure the public has the information it needs.”
They told their army of followers testing for was “free, quick and vital to stop the spread”.
On August 17, Shaughna Phillips who has 1.5million Instagram followers posted: ” Guys I want to remind you about the importance of Coronavirus testing and that its totally free, quick and is vital to stop the spread of coronavirus.”
Meanwhile Chris Hughes told his 2.1million followers earlier this month how “getting tested for coronavirus is the best way for us all to get back to doing the things we love”.
A social media expert speaking to the Mirror, said influencers are usually paid between £5,000 and £10,000 for an ad post.
We recently reported ‘enhanced contact tracing’ could see tighter guidelines around who is contacted by tracers – part of the ongoing effort to prevent a local lockdown in Birmingham.
Birmingham’s Director of Public Health Dr Justin Varney said the new system would target young people in certain postcodes where large gatherings have been reported.
A 100-person rave at a West Midlands nature park was just one of 96 illegal gatherings shut down last weekend.