With an estimated 150.000 active influencers, France has passed a groundbreaking law to regulate influencer marketing and combat fraud, becoming the first country in Europe to do so. The new legislation aims to establish a framework that governs commercial influence on social media platforms, protecting consumers from scams and promoting transparency. The law has gained unanimous support from government and parliament, reflecting the urgency to address the challenges associated with influencer marketing.
The Law and its Implications
The recently adopted law provides a legal definition for the profession of influencers, who use their fame to promote various content online. It prohibits the promotion of certain practices such as cosmetic surgery and therapeutic abstention, as well as the promotion of specific medical devices and nicotine-containing products. While it emphasizes compliance with the Evin law, there are calls for a complete ban on alcohol promotion. Additionally, the law restricts influencers from promoting sports betting and gambling, except on platforms that can prevent access to minors, and certain financial products. Non-compliance may result in penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of €300,000. The law also bans the use of animals in promotional content if their possession is prohibited. Finally, when promotional images are digitally altered using filters, this must be disclosed.
Support from Government and Parliament
The law received overwhelming support from both the government and parliament, demonstrating a united front in recognizing the significance of influencer marketing and the need for its regulation. Bruno Le Maire, the French economic minister, emphasized the importance of defining a framework and rules that protect the influencer economy from exploitation and fraud. He described the sector as one that creates jobs, values French culture, and harnesses creativity. With more than 42 million French consumers purchasing goods and services online, the law is a crucial step towards enhancing consumer confidence in the digital marketplace.
Controversies and Enforcement Challenges
While the law marks a significant milestone, experts anticipate challenges in enforcing regulations for the vast number of online creators, particularly those based overseas. Notable controversies have emerged, with influential figures like Magali Berdah, owner of Shauna Events, being targeted and accused of fraudulent activities. French rapper Booba has spearheaded a campaign against fraudulent influencers, exposing their alleged wrongdoings. To support victims of online financial fraud, a collective named AVI (Help for the Victims of Influencers) has initiated legal proceedings against individuals engaged in deceptive practices.
France’s pioneering legislation on influencer marketing sets a crucial precedent for the regulation of this growing industry. By introducing transparency requirements, prohibiting certain promotional activities, and establishing penalties for violators, the law aims to protect consumers and foster a more trustworthy digital environment. The involvement of Bruno Le Maire and the media coverage of controversies surrounding influential figures highlight the significance of the influencer economy in France. As the law comes into effect, it is expected to shape the future of influencer marketing, promoting integrity and accountability in the digital landscape.