Influencers in France could be facing major fines or even jail time following new advertising legislation signed today.
In an aim to crack down on undeclared advertising and fraud, new legislation was adopted by parliament. This hopes to ensure that influencers will fall under the same advertising rules as national media.
There are an estimated 150,000 influencers in France, some with millions of followers and covering a wide range of topics.
When it comes to the commercial side of their posts, the majority of influencers receive payment in exchange for promoting a product. In many instances, this is undeclared as in France, it has never been under a specific law.
The new legislation introduced will force French influencers to attach the word “advertising” or “commercial partnership” to their posts when they are promoting a product or receiving payment for advertising.
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The new law also prohibits the promotion of cosmetic surgery, tobacco and some financial products and medical devices.
The rules around the promotion of sports betting and lottery games have also been tightened and will only be allowed to be conducted on platforms that can prohibit access to minors.
Those who do not follow this new law could face a punishment of up to two years in prison and €300,000 in fines.
“The party is over for all of those that think you can cheat on the internet,” economy minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier this month to the BFM channel. “Influencers create jobs, value. They are in the most part extremely creative, imaginative and bring a lot to the French economy.
“Then there are few troublemakers who manipulate, who use their role badly, and cheat consumers.”
Experts have claimed that police and prosecutors may find it difficult to enforce the rules due to the number of influencers online and many of them based abroad.