French lawmakers have passed a bill to regulate paid social media influencers and combat fraud, officials said Thursday. File Photo by Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE
June 1 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in France have unanimously passed a bill to regulate paid social media influencers and combat fraud, officials said Thursday.
France's Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty said in a news release that the country has become the first in Europe and one of the first in the world to adopt a framework to regulate "commercial influence."
"The text was voted on in record time and before the summer, in accordance with the ministers' commitments and thanks to the work of parliamentarians from all sides," the ministry said in its statement.
The law, which goes into effect immediately, establishes a regulatory body within the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention with a team of 15 agents and creates a legal definition of the activity of commercial influence.
It also establishes transparency obligations requiring influencers to label all paid content and prohibits commercial businesses from hiring influencers to promote certain goods and services, including medicine, cosmetic surgery, nicotine and wild animals, among other prohibitions.
Violators can face fines of up to 300,000 euros -- or about $322,858 -- as well as two years in prison, the text of the bill reads.
Additionally, influencers will be required to abide by advertising laws such as those that require television and radio advertisers to encourage physical activity in ads for soft drinks and processed foods.