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Source: The post is based on the article “Centre releases endorsement guidelines for Celebs and Social Media Influencers” published in PIB on 20th January 2023.
What is the News?
The Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has released a guide ‘Endorsements Know-hows!’ for celebrities, influencers and virtual influencers on social media platforms’.
Why has the government issued these guidelines for influencers and celebrities?
The size of the social-media influencer market in India last year was Rs 1,275 crore and by 2025, it was likely to be Rs 2,800 crore.
Individuals or groups with access to an audience and have the power to affect their purchasing decisions or opinions about a product, service, brand or experience.
There are more than 100,000 social-media influencers of substance, and this calls for a check.
Therefore, the responsibility of the endorsers or other advertisers is to honestly disclose the information that consumers must know before making any purchasing decisions.
What is the major aim of the guidelines?
The guide aims to ensure: that individuals do not mislead their audiences when endorsing products or services and that they are in compliance with the Consumer Protection Act and any associated rules or guidelines.
What are the key provisions of the guidelines?
Clear display of Disclosures: Disclosures must be prominently and clearly displayed in the endorsement, making them extremely hard to miss.
– This includes not only benefits and incentives, but also monetary or other compensation, trips or hotel stays, media barters, coverage and awards, free products, etc.
– Endorsements must be made in simple, clear language and terms such as “advertisement,” “sponsored,” or “paid promotion” can be used.
– They should not endorse any product or service and service in which due diligence has been done by them or that they have not personally used or experienced.
Penalty: For violations of guidelines, the penalty prescribed for misleading advertisements under the Consumer Protection Act 201Centre releases endorsement guidelines for Celebs and Social Media Influencersl be applicable.
– In that case, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) can impose a penalty of up to ₹ 10 lahks on manufacturers, advertisers and endorsers and for repeated offences, a penalty of up to ₹ 50 lahks can be imposed.
– The CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from making any endorsement for up to one year and for subsequent contravention, prohibition can extend up to three years.