France has approved a law that defines and regulates the activity of influencers in which these content creators are prohibited from promoting dangerous diets, advice on cosmetic surgery and cryptocurrencies.
The objective of this norm is to regulate the use that these users give to platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, in order to fight and end bad practices that they can carry out by taking advantage of their influence over other people.
With this law, in addition, several necessary measures have been identified both to support influencers and to protect consumers, as the French Ministry of Economy and Finance acknowledged in March via Twitter.
The deputies Arthur Delaporte and Stéphane Vojetta presented this bill on January 31, 2023, and the National Assembly approved it unanimously on March 30 in its first reading, while the Senate, which introduced a series of modifications, did so on March 9. May, as Vie Publique recalls. Finally, the National Assembly has approved it unanimously on May 31, 2023 and it was this Thursday, June 1, when the Senate has definitively approved it and also unanimously. The next step in this process is its promulgation in the official gazette of the French State.
This text legally recognizes the activity of commercial influencers in electronic media, and defines them as natural or legal persons who, “in exchange for payment, communicate to the public by electronic means content intended to promote, directly or indirectly, goods, services or that for any reason exercise the activity of commercial influence by electronic means.”
This law specifies that, when this activity is carried out by a person under 16 years of age, it must be their employer who assumes the responsibilities of the content that these creators publish on online platforms. The legal text includes a section dedicated to promotion prohibitions, and which specifies that influencers cannot exercise “the activity of commercial influence by electronic means”, “directly or indirectly”, when they endanger the protection of health public through the promulgation of information on aesthetic, pharmacological and surgical techniques, methods and treatments.
On the other hand, with this new law, influencers will not be able to promote products that can be consumed or contain, even partially, nicotine, nor will they have the right to issue therapeutic prescriptions.
France demands transparency in publications
This regulation also clarifies that it is prohibited for people who exercise commercial influence activity by electronic means to directly or indirectly promote financial products and services, including those related to digital assets.
Hence, it is also illegal to invite other users to establish a relationship with them through a contact form or request additional information to carry out operations related to cryptocurrencies.
Penalties include fines and jail time
This law determines, finally, that in case of committing an infraction with the provisions of it, these users may receive fines of up to 300,000 euros and two years in prison in case of carrying out deceptive commercial practices.
From now on, influencers will also be penalized if they promote false health services, alcoholic beverages, financial services, sports betting and gambling on their profiles, with fines of up to 100,000 euros.
In this case, they can also be prohibited from carrying out their activity, either temporarily or permanently, in addition to being denied access to these ‘online’ platforms.
On the other hand, if these content creators do not introduce a label that reflects that a filter has been used or their photos and videos have been retouched, they would receive a fine of up to 37,500 euros.
Finally, this Ministry has commented that a guide to good practices for influencers has been drawn up, which integrates their fiscal, social and regulatory rights and obligations.
(Reference image source: Unsplash, in collaboration with Getty Images)