Influencers: a necessary legal framework in France

Avatar photo

Many journalists had already been denouncing these influencers for some time, whom the general public often assimilated for pure and hard information. The challenge is the “regulation of a jungle” and the end of a “legal vacuum”, assured deputies, presenting their common bill. Proposals already taken up by Bruno the Mayor in Bercy, who held a press conference dedicated to this subject.

A legal status

The bill provides, among other things, to create a legal status for influencers and to prohibit them from promoting certain products (medicines, financial investments, etc.). Influencers under the age of 16 will also benefit from protective provisions of the labor law of minors.

A “commercial influence brigade” will also be deployed by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), while influencers will have to indicate the use of filters or retouching. Finally, a “good conduct guide” is made available to influencers. The legal part of the project will be examined by the Assembly by the end of March.

60% of agencies illegal

The DGCCRF has published a damning investigation into the commercial practices of the sector. Of more than 60 agencies and influencers targeted since 2021, 60% failed to comply with advertising and consumer rights regulations.

On the menu, deception on the products sold, promotion of risky sports betting, even injections “by beauticians and non-health professionals”, according to the DGCCRF.

Creation of a professional federation

Faced with recent controversies over the behavior of influencers, agencies specializing in the relationship between brands and influencers had announced the creation of a first professional federation, Umicc (Union of influence professions and content creators) .

The clumsy first steps of this federation

A forum had been published by this “federation”, a few days ago. She denounced the legal framework project. The text was signed by important influencers. Some did not understand the process or had not given their consent. Squeezie, the biggest French youtubeur (18 million subscribers), indicated on Sunday evening that he had given his agreement to the text without having read it. “I was presented with this forum as a way to defend ourselves against laws that are too extreme,” he explains, pointing to the lack of distinction between content creators and influencers. “In reality, this forum (…) seems to just be trying to limit damage to malicious influencers”. Squeezie also points among the signatories to “influencers at the very origin of the problem”.

Billions of euros at stake

This episode follows a few months the start of a high-profile conflict, which plunged the sector into turmoil: it opposes rapper Booba and Magali Berdah, boss of the big influencer agency Shauna Events. The first criticizes the second for promoting scams (goods not received, non-compliant products, etc.); in return, she accuses him of cyberstalking. The court opened two investigations.

The general public is beginning to discover the concept of influencer!

These controversies have allowed the general public to discover in a new light the concept of “influencers”, people who distribute content on their social networks and whose opinions can influence the consumption patterns of their subscribers.

Monday, March 20, it was a collective called AVI (Help for victims of influencers) which announced the launch of legal action by dozens of people, in particular for “fraud” and “breach of trust”. They believe they have been scammed by investing in financial products touted by famous influencers, including the couple Marc and Nadé Blata.

Influencer marketing would represent 12 billion euros

The biggest are stars and have millions of subscribers on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok. A vector of advertising that has not escaped brands: called “influencer marketing”, the remuneration of influencers for promoting products has exploded in recent years.

In 2021, it represented a global market estimated at some 12 billion euros, a simple publication on social networks can bring in tens of thousands of euros to the biggest influencers.

Journalists no longer have to content themselves with AFP dispatches

Influencer marketing is shaking up the profession of journalism. It overshadows newspapers whose advertising budgets are falling sharply.

Journalism must do its job without always being influenced by dispatches or press releases.

The situation is not simple: how to continue to practice a profession that pays very little … especially compared to what an influencer perceives.

Article written with information from:

Catherine Mills Avatar