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Social media influencer disclosure guidelines became more stringent


Influencers or celebrities should be able to substantiate the claims made by them in promotions, according to the guidelines.

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Social media influencers will soon have to mandatorily disclose sponsored posts as paid content if there is a material connection between them and a brand, failing which, they can be prohibited from publishing for six months and face a penalty of Rs 10 lakh and upto Rs 50 lakh for repeated offence, according to the new social media influencer guidelines published by the government on Friday.

The association with advertisers should be displayed in a "hard to miss" format, said Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary, ministry of consumer affairs, while releasing the guidelines.

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Disclosures should be made in the language same as the promotion, should be superimposed over the image enough for viewers to notice, should be placed in the video and not just in the description, and should not be mixed with a group of hashtags or links, said Nidhi Khare, additional secretary, ministry of consumer affairs.

Influencers or celebrities should be able to substantiate the claims made by them in promotions, according to the guidelines.

“It is also recommended that the product and service must have been actually used or experienced by the endorser,” they said.

Influencer marketing is a popular type of social media marketing where brands engage content creators or social media influencers with a large follower base to endorse their products or services on social media platforms in exchange for money, gifts or services.

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The market size of influencer marketing was said to be Rs 1,275 crore in 2020, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20%.

In 2021, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) issued guidelines for influencer marketing, which said influencers must label branded posts if there is a material connection between them and the advertisers, failing which both parties will be held accountable.

However, the guidelines published by the government on Friday will be legally enforceable and have a larger impact.

( Originally published on Jan 20, 2023 )

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