The digital landscape in France is on the brink of a transformation. A draft bill aiming to fight against scams and abuses by influencers on social networks was adopted by the French National Assembly on 30 March 2023. The objective of the bill is to establish a regulatory framework for influencer marketing and to address unlawful commercial activities on the web.
The legislative proposal has introduced a legal definition of 'influencers', a term that was not delimited before. They also call for the establishment of an obligation of transparency and the requirement for online platforms to create a reporting system for content associated with prohibited practices.
A particularly noteworthy aspect is the requirement for influencers to display in a clear, legible, and identifiable manner their commercial affiliations with any brands they're promoting in videos and images. This display could take the form of annotations on images or videos, potentially running for the entirety of live or recorded content.
Furthermore, influencers will be expected to provide specific information to their followers. This includes instances when they are endorsing a product or service for commercial gain and whether they have received any form of compensation or incentives to advocate for said product or service.
The approved draft bill is also taking steps to regulate influencer marketing in certain sensitive domains. These include surgical procedures, including cosmetic ones, financial products or services, and counterfeit goods.
Influencers who fail to adhere to these new rules may find themselves facing significant repercussions. The proposed legislation sets out a series of penalties (fines and sometimes imprisonment) for non-compliance.
In conjunction with the draft bill, the French government initiated a public consultation covering 12 measures in January 2023. The measures included the development of a code of conduct for influencers, enhanced obligations for social networks, and an elevated role for supervisory authorities in managing online activities.
These proposed changes in France underscore the increasing recognition of influencers' roles and responsibilities in the digital age, as well as the continued need for clear rules and regulations to ensure transparency, accountability, and protection for all stakeholders. In parallel, the European Union is considering regulating influencers as part of its wider consultation on the new consumer agenda.
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