In a bid to rein in “misleading” promotions, the Centre will soon release guidelines for social media influencers. The guidelines will make it mandatory for social media influencers to make clear disclosures regarding paid promotions.

This comes at a time when brands across sectors are increasingly turning to social media influencers to promote and give them positive reviews. According to digital market agency AdLift, the influencer marketing segment in India is pegged at $75 million-$150 million per year. In markets such as the US, the Federal Trade Commission has already enforced guidelines for social media influencers.

Also read: Beware of advice from social media influencers 

The Consumer Affairs Ministry is working on these guidelines, which are likely to be released in the next 10-15 days, sources said. The guidelines are expected to spell out do’s and don’ts for social media influencers. It will become mandatory for them to make disclosures if they are doing a paid promotion for a brand and failure to do so could make them liable for heavy penalties, sources added.

This is being done so consumers can easily recognise promotional content on digital platforms. Last year, self-regulatory body Advertising Standards Council of India, had also brought in influencer guidelines.

Also read: Meesho issues legal notice to social media influencers over alleged smear campaign

Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Ministry is also in the last stages of finalisation of a framework to check fake reviews on e-commerce platforms. The Ministry officials had earlier said fake reviews had become a key concern, especially in sectors such as white goods, food and beverage, and travel and tourism. It has held discussions with stakeholders on the issue and will soon bring in a framework to weed out paid and fake reviews. 

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