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Italy Approves Stricter Rules for Social Media Transparency Following Influencer Fine

 |  January 11, 2024

Italy’s communications authority AGCOM has greenlit new regulations aimed at enhancing transparency in social media posts made by high-profile celebrities with large online followings. The move comes in the wake of a substantial fine imposed on top influencer Chiara Ferragni, who boasts nearly 30 million followers on Instagram. Italy’s antitrust agency penalized Ferragni over a Christmas charity initiative that lacked clarity.

In response to this incident, AGCOM has introduced stringent rules that will initially apply to influencers posting in Italian and collaborating with Italian brands, provided they have over 1 million followers. The guidelines, as stated in a late Wednesday statement by AGCOM, mandate that any advertising content must be clearly labeled to ensure easy identification. Failure to comply may result in fines of up to €600,000.

The influence wielded by online personalities, particularly those with massive followings, often surpasses that of traditional advertising in driving product sales and elevating brand visibility. The new regulations are a proactive measure to ensure greater accountability and transparency in the burgeoning realm of influencer marketing.

Related: Italy’s Watchdog Probes Apple Over Competition In App Market

France took a similar step last year by introducing legislation prohibiting influencers from promoting products like tobacco and demanding increased transparency regarding paid content.

AGCOM emphasized that influencers must adhere to the same code of conduct applied to conventional media outlets. This includes promoting impartial communication, steering clear of fake news, and refraining from discriminatory or racist posts. The goal is to create a more responsible online environment that aligns with ethical standards.

In an interview published on Thursday in La Repubblica, AGCOM’s head, Giacomo Lasorella, clarified that the new rules were not specifically targeted at Ferragni. He stated that the authority had been working on these regulations for over a year, aiming to establish a comprehensive framework for social media influencers that promotes accountability and transparency.

Source: Business Of Fashion