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  • Writer's picturePaloma Kerbaol

Legal framework for influencers in France: new laws and measures to frame commercial influence

Discover the new French legal framework for influencers, even those based abroad, which aims to combat abuses in the sector and protect consumers.

On June 1, France adopted a law that aims to strictly regulating the commercial influence sector, and in particular influencers based abroad.

The aim of the law is to make influencers more accountable and to combat abuses in the sector. In France, there are an estimated 150,000 influencers on various digital platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.). Scams, misleading advertising, dropshipping: even though a minority of these social networks content creators resort to dishonest practices, the consequences for their young audience are significant.

Germany has already had the opportunity to legislate in this area. However, the measures provided for are limited and flexible in comparison with French law. While the German law inserts an article § 5a into the UWG (Competition Act), which essentially requires transparency in the communication of advertising information, the French law provides for fifteen new measures, supplementing the pre-existing regulations on advertising to which influencers are already subject (Consumer Code, the so-called "EVIN" law, etc.).

The French text focuses on two points: controlling the influencers and protecting the consumers. In case of non-compliance, fines can reach up to 300,000 euros, in addition to imprisonment or a ban on exercising the profession.

The key measures of the law are as follows:

For influencers based abroad:

All the measures adopted apply to all content creators, whether based in France or abroad, from the moment they address the French public.

Influencers operating from outside the EU must appoint a legal representative on French territory and take out European civil liability insurance.

For all influencers targeting the French public:

1. Prohibition to promote certain products or services

The promotion of medical or cosmetic surgical procedures, health treatments, nicotine, therapeutic abstinence, subscriptions to sports advice or prognoses, as well as advertising involving wild animals, is now prohibited.

2. The need for a written contract between influencers and brands

Above a certain amount set by decree of the Conseil d'Etat, a written contract must be signed between brands, influencer agencies and content creators. There is considerable freedom in drafting the contract.

3. More responsibility for dropshipping by influencers

Content creators are now responsible to consumers when they engage in dropshipping, i.e. selling products by entrusting storage and shipping to a third-party supplier. They must provide information about the identity of the supplier and ensure that the products comply with European regulations.

4. Creation of a specialized surveillance brigade and responsibility of platforms

While Germany has no real supervisory authority, relying instead on competition regulation, in France it is the Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF) that ensures rigorous monitoring to guarantee respect for consumer rights and competition.

The DGCCRF will set up a 15-strong “Commercial Influence Brigade”, responsible for monitoring platforms and ensuring compliance with the rules, notably through new sanctioning powers.

Following the Digital Service Act (DSA), social networking platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube ...) are required to cooperate with these authorities. This means taking measures to improve the transparency of advertising content and facilitating the reporting of fraud and the abuse of commercial influence.

Online platform providers must give priority to reports from "trusted whistleblowers". Under Article 22 of the DSA (Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 on a single market for digital services), this status can, under certain conditions, be granted to an entity independent of digital platforms, which is responsible for the detection and reporting of illegal content to the platforms concerned.

5. Obligation to provide information when promoting certain products and services

As in Germany, the law requires that the promotion of goods and services must be clearly labelled as "advertising" or "commercial collaboration" on images and videos. In addition, content with altered or artificially intelligent images must be accompanied by statements such as "virtual images" in order to limit the psychological impact on the public.

Do you have any questions about influencer communication in France, Germany or abroad? MARS-IP has been helping companies and entrepreneurs in France and Germany since 2000.

This article is purely informative and does not replace legal advice.

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash


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