Social Media Influencer – Legal Implications

Social Media Influencer – Legal Implications

October 18, 2020 0 By administrator

In the recent past, social media marketing has witnessed an enormous increase. This has given birth to a bandwagon of social media influencers, who spend hours in creating content and doing various other activities such as endorsing, reviewing or advertising a brand. Influencer marketing can be understood as a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive the brand’s message to the larger market, rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, the brand instead inspire/hire/pay influencers to get out the word for it.[1]

As per a report titled, ‘The State of Influencer Marketing 2019: Benchmark Report’ by Influencer Marketing Report revealed that the outlook for influencer marketing is extremely positive[2]. It further showed that 92% of consumers believed that influencer marketing was an effective form of marketing.[3] Therefore, with the increase in the industry, various issues in this regard have also elevated.

This article goes through various legislations that the government has enforced in the best interest of the consumers. Additionally, it also reiterates some of the points that an influencer must keep in mind while making a decision to endorse or advertise goods/services of a particular brand.

Like any other form of advertising the purpose of getting endorsements from the influencers is to help the consumer in making an informed choice. However, there have been some instances in the past where these social media influencers were called out for some negative effects of the endorsed product. Therefore, the regulating bodies are now taking steps to regulate the bandwagon of social media influencers in order to balance and protect the interests of the members of the purchasing public.

Endorsement and Advertisements by Influencers- The Law

  1. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 – The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’) notified on August 9, 2019. Alongwith certain other changes, the Act also focusses on misleading advertisements and endorsements by celebrities that also includes social media influencers. If an influencer has not informed that it is a paid promotion and intentionally lying about the product that it is good when it is not, followers can sue the influencer for misleading advertising for up to INR 10 lakh and repeat offenders can be fined up to INR 50 lakh.[4] This is the very first legislation that emphasizes on targeted advertising, market campaigns through influencers[5], as the Ministry has repeatedly felt that advertisements by celebrities and influential personnel can take a negative turn and harm the consumers. There have been instances where advertisements may have become misleading while making it attractive for the consumers.
  2. The Draft Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements) – In addition to above regulation, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs have…

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