A number of countries in the European Union (EU) are currently taking action against celebrities and influencers who promote financial products, cryptocurrency, and gambling. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), which is pushing for unified regionwide legislation, however, does not seem impressed by the individual approach from country to country.
According to the European Economic and Social Committee, the rapid expansion influencers and social media have on a global scale makes the intervention of the EU in this practice’s regulation more important than ever. The body believes there should be a standard set of guidelines in regard to responsible gambling across the entire region to make sure that the segment receives fair and transparent treatment.
The Committee – essentially an advisory group supporting the European Council (EC) – has published an opinion on influencer advertising and the impact such marketing practices have on customers. The EESC opinion comes at the request of the Spanish Presidency, which is also contemplating the implementation of special legislation regarding influencers.
Now, the Committee has made a recommendation for the European Union to create guidelines, especially for social media platforms and content creators. The European Economic and Social Committee wants to make it clear to consumers that certain videos are advertising and suggests putting special labels on such digital publications. It has also insisted on establishing some fines for influencers who do not inform their audience when they receive compensation for a particular post.
The Committee suggested the implementation of a new EU-wide regulation that makes it obligatory for content creators to always inform the authority that regulates any commercial post.
Social Media Platforms Could Face Certain Influencer Marketing Restrictions, Too
Social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitch have also faced some criticism. They may be supposed to meet certain rules that are specific to the sector and aim at protecting consumers, especially vulnerable people and underage individuals. Such social media websites could also become liable for any content that has been published and hosted on their platforms. Social media companies would have to be proactive in removing any unlawful content and reporting illegal activity to the competent authorities.
For the time being, the EESC is only providing recommendations, so it did not go into details about how the European Union should develop its oversight on influencers advertising gambling, financial services, and cryptocurrency. However, the Committee’s opinion has opened the door for more unified regulations across the region.
The advertising services of influencers and celebrities have become extremely popular among companies that have been looking for further popularization of their brands over the last 10 years. Influencers have managed to gain consumer trust over the years because of the perception that their content is reliable and authentic, with so-called influencer marketing surpassing traditional advertising.
As a result, companies in various sectors, especially the ones operating in the gaming and gambling sector, have been willing to provide significant financial backing for such advertising practices. Furthermore, despite its rising popularity among a range of sectors across the world, influencer advertising remains almost fully free from regulatory oversight.
Now, the Committee has suggested that utilizing influencers as brand advocates for certain companies and their products could finally see some limits imposed on influencer marketing similar to the ones imposed on traditional advertising. While it does not have the power to order the European Council to accept its recommended policies, the European Economic and Social Committee enjoys a strong relationship with the members of the Council, so its opinions are often part of subsequent pieces of legislation imposed on the EU member states.