Bruno Le Maire reveals his plan to end the jungle of influencers

Creation of a legal status, prohibited advertising, responsibility of platforms… The Ministry of the Economy has formulated its proposals, after several months of work.

We will not let anything pass: no drift, no abuse, no embezzlement“, insists Bruno Le Maire from his desk in Bercy. In the midst of a storm around pension reform, the Minister of Economy and Finance took a step aside this Friday by unveiling his action plan to end the jungle of influencers in France. Four months of consultation and work with influencer agencies, tech giants (Youtube, Meta, TikTok, Snapchat), Fraud Control, the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), or the Regulatory Authority advertising professional (ARPP), as well as a public consultation of 20,000 citizens, will have been necessary.

This is the first time in Europe that a comprehensive framework for the regulation of influencers will be put in place“, specifies Bruno Le Maire, surrounded by deputies Stéphane Vojetta (Renaissance) and Arthur Delaporte (socialist) who carry the text of the law on the subject. The latter will be examined next week in the National Assembly. The abuses brought to light in recent months around the placement of fraudulent products and services (like teleshopping 2.0) had pushed the executive to act.

Legal definition of influencer

Firstly, the executive enacts the creation in France by law of a legal definition of “business influence activity“, of “the influenceras well as the creation of a legal definition forinfluencer agencies“. Added to this is the obligation of a written contract between brands, agencies and influencers in a free format. “The use of written contracts has so far been far from systematic in the sector“says Bruno Le Maire.

As in many countries, the influence marketing sector in France suffered from legal uncertainty. The executive is thus proposing a legislative arsenal, in order to build a liability regime for influencers vis-à-vis the content they post. In France, more than 150,000 citizens are considered influencers. “In a successful sector, it is normal that there are clear rules, and that they are respected by all”specifies the Minister of the Economy.

Bercy also unveiled a “guide to good conduct » intended for influencers and content creators, containing the essentials of their rights and duties.

Advertising: same rules as for the media

Like the rules in force in the traditional media such as the press, radio or television, the promotion of certain products and services (tobacco, alcohol, health care, financial products, gambling and games of chance.. .) will be heavily framed. From now on, the legal notices will have to appear. The promotion of cryptoassets will only be authorized subject to registration with the AMF. For its part, the promotion of cosmetic surgery through commercial influence should be strictly prohibited.

Mention the use of filter

In order to avoid destructive psychological effects» on the audience, influencers will soon have to indicate when their commercial content has been retouched through a filter (or other processing by retouching software). This regime thus applies the regulations for advertising photographs modifying the bodily appearance of models to commercial influence.

Protection of underage influencers

Another major pillar of regulation, Bercy tackles the protection of minor influencers. “Everyone can see that influencer activity is the dream of many minors“says Bruno Le Maire. For minors under the age of 16, it will be necessary to obtain approval from the State services and 90% of the sums collected from commercial influence must be co-signed until they reach majority.

Simplify reporting mechanisms

To better protect French consumers, the executive has decided to strengthen the reporting systems for scams. It will give the status of “trusted flaggersto several associations which have denounced certain misdeeds of influencers in recent months. Another lever, the SignalConso public site will also be available in a mobile application.

For their part, digital platforms (such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) will have to set up a special reporting channel. And their responsibility can now be engaged in the event of problematic content, in line in particular with the European regulation of the Digital Services Act (DSA). “We will set up monitoring cells at Bercy to understand if the tech giants are playing the game“says Bruno Le Maire.

A Commercial Influence Brigade will also be created within Fraud Prevention, with a dedicated team of 15 agents. “Influencers who have been reported will also be subject to new sanctions“, said Bruno Le Maire. These sanctions can go as far as a ban on exercising the activity of influencer, with the closure of accounts on social networks.

Examination of the text of the law next week

From now on, the text of the law around the regulation of influencers, in which Bercy’s proposals have been added, will be examined in the National Assembly next week. “This regulation is there to support and defend influencers, and certainly not to stigmatize them“, said Bruno Le Maire. “I believe that a unanimous adoption of the text of the law by the Commission in the National Assembly, whatever the political beliefs of each, is possible.“, concluded the Minister of the Economy.

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