The government has introduced endorsement guidelines for social media influencers to curb unfair trade practices and misleading promotions.
The Department of Consumer Affairs announced the guidelines, making it mandatory for influencers to disclose promotional content as per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Failure to comply may result in a fine of up to INR1 million (USD12,000), with increased penalties for repeated offences.
The guidelines apply to social media influencers and virtual avatars promoting products and services, and these must be prominently displayed in post descriptions or within video content. Influencers must also disclose brand promotions during live streams.
The language of the disclosures must match the content language. The department is in talks with tech companies to implement algorithms to detect violators, and is advising consumers to file complaints if they spot any violations.
According to Influencer.in, an influencer marketing platform, the influencer marketing industry’s value is tipped to grow from INR9 billion in 2021 to INR22 billion by 2025. The Advertising Standards Council of India welcomed the move, as influencer violations make up almost 30% of ads reviewed by the council.