French law proposes crack down on influencers and platforms

France is aiming to crack down on the reported 150,000 influencers creating content for French audiences on social media channels. This matters on a global scale.

“The objective of this bill is to create and strengthen a legal system that can both empower and sanction, where appropriate, all influencers, their agencies, advertisers and distribution platforms, in order to strengthen the protection of social network users and consumers,” according to the statement of reasons section of the bill (as translated by Google Translate).

The bill has been introduced for debate in the National Assembly.

Here are key highlights:
🚨 Influencers must include a banner on photos and videos explicitly indicating sponsored content, with the descriptions, hashtags, or comments not being sufficient
🚨 Content that uses filters or photo-editing effects must be labeled
🚨 Cosmetic surgery services, pharmaceutical products, and medical devices are prohibited from influencer campaigns, as well as investment and financial services.
🚨 Social media platforms must set up a process to report fraud and release an annual report of activity
🚨 Social media platforms also must cooperate with French authorities to block misleading advertising content
🚨 Mandatory contracts between an influencer and their agency
🚨 Influencers based outside France are supposed to appoint a legal representative within France.

What happens if influencers violate the law?
🚔 Fines up to 375,000 euros
🚔 Prison sentences, and
🚔 Potential suspensions, temporary or permanent, from social media platforms.

How does France define an influencer under this law?
“any natural or legal person who, for consideration or in exchange for a benefit in kind, produces and distributes by means of electronic communication content which is aimed, on occasion of the expression of their personality, to promote goods, services, or any cause” (Translated using Google Translate)

📖 Read: Bill No. 790 – Visant à lutter contre les arnaques et les dérives des influenceurs sur les réseaux sociaux