Shein has issued a vigorous defence over an Instagram post which breached advertising standards around the sexualisation of minors.

The post was created by a 14-year-old influencer posing in a black dress with cut outs, with a Shein discount code shared to followers.

In a complaint issued to Australia's Ad Standards, the post was deemed to contravene advertising codes for people under the age of 18.

“The video is highly sexualised, featuring a young teen dressed in porn-inspired adult wear,” one complainant wrote.

“She is filmed running her hands up her thighs, front and breasts.”

Shein issued a vigorous defence to the Advertising Standards Community panel over the content.

“I cannot emphasize more on the fact that we don’t have control over the post," the statement read.

"Nor did we sponsor the Shein product that she was using in the post.

“Therefore, if the post is an advertisement of our brand, it would be an advertisement that we did not ask for. And we should not be accused for such ad that we did not ask for.

“To this end, whether such arrangement exists should not be of the concern of our discussion here.

“While we do share the concern over the risk of kidfluencers being exploited by child predators, the real question and risk in our case should remain the content of the video posted, over which, again, we do not have any control.”

However, the panel ruled the post met the definition of advertising through its promotion and tagging of the brand, in addition to sharing a special discount code.

As a result, the influencer was asked to take down her post and the Shein code was deactivated. 

“The Panel considered that while the advertiser may not have had direct control over the individual post, it did have control over the provision of the discount code to the influencer,” the ruling stated.

“In this instance, once the advertiser was made aware of the post and the influencer’s age by Ad Standards, under the UGC guidelines referred to above it had some control over the post.

“The Panel considered that the advertiser could have asked the influencer to remove the post, and/or could have taken away the influencer’s individual discount code.”

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