The British government paid social media influencers to promote the NHS Test and Trace service, it has confirmed.
Instagram influencers, including Love Island stars, were paid an undisclosed amount to make posts during lockdown.
The social media posts were part of a wider campaign to inform the public about the programme.
“Our use of social media influencers has meant over 7 million people have been reached,” said a spokesman for the government.
“As a responsible government, we will use every means possible to keep the public informed during the pandemic and raise awareness of NHS Test and Trace.
“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.”
The government said that all costs involved in the campaign would be published in due course as part of the regular transparency reports on gov.uk.
Dozens of Instagram influencers including former Love Island contestants Shaughna Phillips, Chris Hughes and Josh Denzel made paid Instagram posts marked as ads, with the hashtags “#gettested” and “letsgetback”.