Draft guidelines soon for social media influencers, must disclose brand links

The Center has prepared draft guidelines for social media influencers, which make it mandatory for them to disclose their association with the product they are promoting, it learned. According to official sources, the consumer affairs department has prepared a draft of the guidelines which may be issued “soon”. “The proposed guidelines may come out in two weeks,” the sources said.

Under the new guidelines, a person endorsing a company’s product on social media will have to state whether he has been paid by the company or not.

It is learned that under the provisions of the proposed guidelines if a social media influencer endorses a brand after accepting money, he/she has to disclose his/her association with that brand. Besides, influencers will have to put disclaimers in such endorsement posts, the sources said.

According to sources, a large number of influencers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been found promoting products after taking payment from companies.

The Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for curbing such practices and protecting the interests of consumers, sources said, adding that the department is in the process of developing a framework to prevent fake reviews on e-commerce sites.

On May 27, taking cognizance of fake reviews on e-commerce platforms, the Department of Consumer Affairs held a meeting with e-commerce entities and stakeholders to discuss “the magnitude of fake reviews and roadmap ahead”.

The meeting, organized in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India, came days after consumer affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh wrote to stakeholders including e-commerce entities, consumer forums, law universities, lawyers, FICCI, and CII.

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