France has some 150,000 influencers, Source: Depositphotos

French influencers can end up in jail if they do this

French influencers can end up in jail if they do this

The new advertising legislation is the first in Europe to define the role of these online celebrities

French legislators greenlighted new law that aims to protect consumers from unlawful or grey-area gambling or cosmetics, which often use the services of social media influencers to promote their products. The law has been described as the first of its kind in Europe to define the role of the online personalities and assign responsibility and culpability to their actions if they are caught advertising such services.

The new legislation defines influencers as “actors of commercial influence” in legal parlance and prohibits them, under threat of sanctions, to advertise lottery or gambling games that do not have the capacity to prohibit minors.

Additionally, the law prohibits the promotion of medical practices, such as cosmetic surgery and the promotion of dubious medical devices. Likewise, the governmental watchful eye will observe whether influencers push the popularity of tobacco and smoking products.

Social media as an advertising “jungle”

"The law of the jungle is over," said Arthur Delaporte of the Socialist Party who jointly put the bill forward with Stephane Vojetta of Renaissance. The latter said the text will "protect consumers, especially the youngest ones," as quoted by France24.

Violators could face punishments of up to two years in prison and 300,000 euro fines. Meanwhile, the influencers themselves had also taken the step towards professionalizing their trade with the setting up of the Union of Influencers and Content Creators, a body that represents their interests. The Union had warned parliamentarians against the risk of "discriminating against or over-regulating" certain industry players.

Experts, however, warned that due to the fluid nature of influencer work, where an online personality can advertise in France but be physically located outside of the country, this would make imposing real sanctions problematic.



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