Bruno Le Maire, Economy Minister, made it his “top priority”: the monitoring of influencers was the focus of a round table in Bercy this Thursday. A lack of transparency, defective or illegal products, conflicts of interest, dropshipping… For a few months now, the executive has been interested in the sometimes dubious practices of these social network stars. The case Magali Berdah-Booba and a program by Further research increased awareness.
As evidence, Magali Berdah, the sector’s pope, was not invited to Thursday’s meeting. On the other hand, agents of influencers, social networks (including YouTube and Tiktok), organizations representing the world of communication, as well as representatives of the state, from tax authorities to anti-fraud, were present Regulatory bodies for gambling and financial markets.
According to the Economics Ministry, this first meeting, which is intended to set the course, must lead to “very concrete proposals” in the “spring”. Consumer protection, tax framework, evolution of the profession… The stakes are high and the issues are numerous.
Very profitable partnerships
Especially when you know that the influencer marketing market, made up of brands paying influencers to promote their products, was worth more than $13 billion last year. The influence of influencers is considerable today: according to an omnibus study conducted last March, more than half of 18 to 24-year-olds have already bought a product or service after a product placement.
Which didn’t always end well. On social networks, the AVI collective (help for victims of influencers) and the account “Your Stars in Reality” continues to warn against the dealings of certain influencers ranging from lack of information to fraud to deceptive, unfair or prohibited business practices the latest ARPP reportcommercial advertising regulator, 17% of paid partnerships still lack transparency.
Currently, the regulation of the sector in France is mainly based on voluntary commitments, such as the ARPP’s “Certificate of Responsible Influence”, or the Public Relations Consulting Union (SCRP) Charter of Influencer Relations. What could change soon: In the Bercy viewfinder, the practices of influencers are also addressedan invoice the ecologist deputy Aurélien Taché.
This text aims to “establish a legal framework for the activity of influencers on social networks”. As ? First, by legally defining what an influencer is. “Today there is no legal definition of what an influencer is,” explains lawyer VEronic Rondeau Abouly. The profession says it is a person who has strong suggestion power in the public and uses their notoriety to promote products or services.”
The bill, which will be considered in April at the latest in the environmentalists’ parliamentary niche, also plans to make written contracts between the influencer and its sponsors and agents mandatory. Finally, it confirms the duty of an influencer to mention the promotional nature of content. A provision that already provides for the Consumer Protection Act and which brought reality TV star Nabilla a fine last year.
According to Manuel Diaz, who runs Influx, an agency that represents influencers with brands, “there are already laws that allow the state to act.” So what’s the point of further regulating the sector? “Influencer activities are already regulated, but isolated,” observes VEronic Rondeau Abouly. An observation shared by Clément of the AVI collective: “Today the difficulty is that everyone passes the buck between influencers, influencer agencies, brands and platforms. It will at least be possible to empower all actors,” he hopes.