The central government has clamped down on those doing ‘false’ campaigns through social media by buying favors from brands and institutions and praising their products and services. Celebrities and social media influencers should fully disclose any benefits they receive as a warning when promoting any product or brand through their social media platforms. Social media influencers will be fined up to Rs 50 lakh if they do not follow the guidelines. The products will be banned for up to six years.
Union Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh issued the guidelines in this regard by calling a press conference on Friday. The guidelines also state that product and promotional interests should be disclosed in simple and clear language. The central government says the restrictions are part of its ongoing efforts to curb misleading advertising and protect consumers’ interests amid the burgeoning social influencers market, which is expected to grow by 20 percent annually to reach Rs 2,800 crore by 2025.
The new guidelines are titled ‘Endorsement No House’. Incentives Cash and other rewards, travel or hotel accommodation, media bartering, coverage awards, free products, discounts, gifts, and any family, personal or professional relationship are considered perks as per the guidelines, the Center said. Sponsored or paid promotions should be used when running promotions.
In case of any violation, the penalty prescribed for misleading advertisements under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 will be applicable. In 2022, the social media influencers market in India was worth Rs 1,275 crore. By 2025, it will rise to Rs 2,800 crore, with an annual growth rate of around 19-20%. Union Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said, “There are more than 1 lakh social media influencers in the country.”