Guidelines for social media influencers on anvil; declaration to be must for endorsing products

The government will soon come out with guidelines for social media influencers, making it mandatory for them to declare their association with the product they endorse, sources said.

“The Department of Consumer Affairs is coming out with guidelines on social media influencers. It is creating dos and don’ts for them,” an official source said.

Sources said social media influencers, who have large followers on social media platforms like Instagram, are endorsing products after taking payments from the brands.

As per the proposed guidelines, if social media influencers endorse any brand after taking money, they will have to declare their association with that brand, sources said.

Also Read | Will introduce framework to regulate social media platforms: Centre tells Delhi HC

Social media influencers will need to put disclaimers in such endorsement posts, they added.

The guidelines might come within the next 15 days.

Meanwhile, the department has completed the process of developing a framework to curb fake reviews posted on e-commerce websites. The same will be released shortly.

In May, the department along with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held a virtual meeting with stakeholders, including e-commerce entities, to discuss the magnitude of fake reviews on their platforms.

Fake reviews mislead consumers into buying online products and services.

The department had then decided it would develop these frameworks after studying the present mechanism being followed by e-commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally.

Since e-commerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers heavily rely on reviews posted on platforms to see the opinion and experience of users who have already purchased the good or service.

“Traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the reviewer and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues here. Also, e-commerce players must disclose how they choose the ‘most relevant reviews’ for display in a fair and transparent manner,” Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh had said.

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