Why the EU will investigate many influencers


February 15, 2024 at 3:32 p.m.


Sponsored content from influencers in the crosshairs of the EU - frco / @ Shutterstock.com

Sponsored content from influencers in the crosshairs of the EU – frco / @ Shutterstock.com

Good deal, favorite, advice, or sponsored content, it’s difficult to know what influencers’ publications on social networks hide. And for good reason: 4 out of 5 influencers do not indicate this clearly.

576 content creators on social networks spread across 22 member states, Iceland and Norway were the subject of a survey recently published by the European Union. Result: while almost all of them publish commercial content, 4 out of 5 did not clearly indicate that it was sponsored content. And that, for Brussels, which is very demanding in terms of regulation, does not work. Like the French influencers Lenoutsa and Lianeanea pinned by the DGCCRF in 2023 for deceptive commercial practices, the EU will investigate 360 ​​content creators.

Tracking fraud in a market that generates 20 billion euros worldwide

The EU, very particular when it comes to the protection of its consumers, has decided to launch a vast search across 22 of its member states, but also Norway and Iceland. In its sights, 360 content creators on social networks, chosen after a study of 576 influencers.

The reason is the vagueness around publications highlighting certain products or services. A good plan, a great financial investment, an excellent place for lunch or even the best anti-wrinkle, publications that 97% of influencers published without clearly mentioning that they were in fact sponsored content. In short, disguised ads at the heart of a market which will still generate 20 billion euros worldwide in 2023.

Another twist in the contract, barely more than a third of the targeted influencers were registered as professionals while 30% ignored the publication of their company’s contact details. This was all it took for Brussels to trigger a more in-depth investigation into those who now risk heavy sanctions.

And the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, warns: “ They [N.D.L.R : les influenceurs] exert considerable influence over their subscribers, many of whom are minors. I call on them to show much more transparency.”

Influencer, a better regulated status, but which still harbors some cheaters © Los Muertos Crew / Pexels

Influencer, a better regulated status, but which still harbors some cheaters © Los Muertos Crew / Pexels

Report posts that put subscribers at risk

But the investigation does not only stop at questionable practices, the nature of the products being touted is also called into question. This is how the investigation uncovered 119 influencers who were disguised advertising for junk food, but also alcoholic beverages, hazardous financial investments, dubious crypto, gambling, or even worse , cosmetic surgery treatments or nuclear power. The Commission in charge of the investigation denounces these publications, calling them “ unhealthy or dangerous activities “.

AFP has also updated an EU working document in which they are strongly advised to whistle the end of recess and “ to consider an ethical code or an ethical label for influencers ” in common.

France seems to be doing well thanks to the joint actions of complainants and the DGCCRF which provides a regulatory framework. From now on, the 150,000 influencers domiciled in France must comply with the rules with the adoption in 2023 of a proposed law aimed at better regulating the activities of influencers by giving them a special status. Among other measures, there is a ban on promoting any product that could harm the health of their subscribers. And for the smart guys whose activities are domiciled abroad, the twenty-seven inform them that from now on, even based in Dubai, they will have to refer to French standards, particularly in terms of civil liability, in the event of a dispute.

Cleaning up and effectively regulating the Internet is the objective set by the EU, whose legislation on digital services (DSA) comes into force on February 17, 2024. And this is valid for all platforms . To the wise, the fines will rain down.

Source: Le Figaro

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