French law on influencer marketing could revolutionize influencer-brand interactions globally.

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Influencer Marketing Platform » Blog » Influencer Marketing » French law on influencer marketing could revolutionize influencer-brand interactions globally.

The new legislation, implemented on June 1st, cracks down on unethical practices in the industry, particularly undisclosed partnerships, fraudulent collaborations, and risky product promotion. Aimed at protecting citizens, especially minors who form a significant portion of influencer followers, the law combines existing and new regulations.

Key provisions of the law include:

  • Clearer definitions: The law establishes a clear definition of influencers as “people who, in return for remuneration or benefits in kind, “mobilize their reputation among their audience to communicate” online “content aimed at promoting, directly or indirectly, goods, services or any cause whatsoever. It also extends regulations to influencer agents, defined as “influencer agent activity thus consists, for a fee, in representing natural or legal persons carrying on the influencer activity defined in the law, to natural or legal persons and, where applicable, their agents, soliciting their services, for the purpose of promoting, by electronic means, goods, services or any cause whatsoever

  • Payment and benefits: The law specifies that influencers’ compensation can include not only cash but also free products or services.

  • Contract requirements: Partnership between influencers and agents must have written contracts covering conflict of interest, payment/commission, and compliance with laws. Commercial partnerships between influencers and brands above a specified value (yet to be defined) will now require both parties to sign comprehensive contracts, covering details such as responsibilities, compensation, duration, and adherence to French laws. 

  • Prohibited and restricted industries: The law strictly prohibits the promotion of nicotine-containing products, subscriptions to sports predictions or gambling services (unless restricted to platforms inaccessible to minors), and certain financial products like cryptocurrencies and NFTs. It also limits or bans the promotion of specific medical practices, devices, procedures, and endorsing prescription medications. Promotions involving non-domestic animals, excluding zoological parks, are also prohibited.

  • Dropshipping accountability: Influencers engaging in dropshipping collaborations are held accountable as the “seller” of the promoted products. They must ensure compliance with relevant laws, product safety, and provide complete details to buyers.

  • Content regulations: Influencers must verify the authenticity and accuracy of the products or services they promote. Claims related to weight loss, health benefits, and product quality must be supported by factual information. Disclosure is mandatory for retouched or filtered promotional images, and the use of virtual images created with AI must be labeled accordingly. The term “partnership” is no longer acceptable for paid advertising, and disclaimers must clearly indicate “Advertising” or “Commercial collaboration” on all content types and for the duration of the advertisement. Existing regulations on content copywriting, usage rights, and defamation remain in place.

  • Children in content: Parental rights holders are responsible for ensuring the security, privacy, and compliance of children’s images featured in influencer content. Influencers under 16 years of age require government approval, and 90% of their earnings are held until they reach the age of majority. Children aged 16 to 18 may engage in commercial influence with authorization and supervision from legal representatives.

  • Jurisdiction and compliance: These regulations apply to influencers with a French audience, regardless of their location. Influencers are required to obtain civil liability insurance from within the European Union, appoint a legal representative in the EU, and comply with French authorities’ inquiries. Non-compliance leads to content reporting and blocking.

  • Social media platforms: They will now be held responsible and any content that is deemed illicit or reported as such must be promptly removed from the platform and associated accounts. In severe cases, criminal penalties can be imposed on the platforms for their failure to remove such content, including through international cooperation between public authorities.

Non-compliance with the law may result in penalties, including imprisonment and fines. The DGCCRF has the authority to employ additional measures to combat illicit content.

France’s pioneering efforts in influencer marketing regulation are expected to influence global standards as other countries may adopt similar legislation to regulate the industry.

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