Social Media

Social media influencers will need to label promotional content from June 14

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on May 28, 2021

ASCI releases final guidelines, ropes in technology partner to check violations

Social media influencers will need to mandatory label promotional content on their social media posts from June 14. This is part of the final guidelines for influencer advertising on digital media released by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Thursday.

These guidelines have been finalised after a public consultation process and puts the onus of the disclosure and the content regarding claims on both the social media influencer as well as the advertiser.

Social media influencers will need display a disclosure label on their posts if they have any “material connection” with advertisers which includes monetary compensation as well as barter deals in the form of discounted products. They have also been advised to review the claims being made in promoted content and ensure they are substantiated by the advertisers.

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The guidelines added that the responsibility of disclosure of this material connection and contents of the advertisement (promoted content) will not only be on the social media influencer but also on the advertisers. “Where Advertiser has a material connection with the Influencer, Advertiser’s responsibility will be to ensure that the posted Influencer advertisement is in line with the ASCI code and its Guidelines,” it added.

Upfront disclosures

The disclosure by the social media influencers will need to be upfront and prominent and cannot be just part of their profile, about me section or “anywhere that requires consumers to be click the More tab. “Using a platform’s (such as Youtube and Instagram) disclosure tool should be considered in addition to an influencer’s own disclosure,” the guidelines pointed. Some of the permitted disclosure labels by ASCI include advertisement, ad, sponsored, collaboration or partnership. These labels need to be in English or in the language of the advertisement.

Subhash Kamath, President ASCI said that the final guidelines have been launched after extensive discussions and balances the interests of consumers, influencer, agencies, advertisers and other stakeholders. “This is another step taken by ASCI to safeguard consumer interests and will usher in transparency at a time when influencer marketing has become mainstream. We received feedback from more than 25 stakeholders over the past two months including IAMAI as well as advertisers such as PepsiCo, P&G, HUL and Nestle. We also engaged with social media influencers before ,” he added.

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Manisha Kapoor, Secretary General, ASCI added that French technology provider, Reech has been identified to monitor potential violations of these guidelines. She said that technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning algorithms will be deployed to track violations. ASCI is also launching the ASCI.Social platform that will offer information related to the guidelines to stakeholders. “Over time, ASCI.Social hopes to create a community of social media influencers, consumers, advertisers, and talent management agencies,” she added.

The guidelines also specify the manner and the time period for which the disclosure labels need to be displayed across video posts, audio posts, picture posts, live streams among others. For instance, for videos which are 2 minutes or longer, the disclosure label must stay for the entire duration of the section in which the promoted brand or its features, benefits, etc., are mentioned. Similarly for live streams and audio posts, social media influencers will need to announce the disclosure label, among other norms. “A virtual influencer must additionally disclose to consumers that they are not interacting with a real human being,” the guidelines added.

Published on May 27, 2021

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