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4 out of 5 Influencers Breaking Rules on Commercial Content

With the Digital Services Act (DSA) now in force, the European Commission has published a report on unfair influencer behaviour.

4 out of 5 Influencers Breaking Rules on Commercial Content
Source: Depositphotos

The monitoring covered 576 influencers from 22 EU member states, including Luxembourg, Norway and Iceland. It showed that up to 97% of them posted commercial content, but only 20% said it was advertising. The European Commission report also found that up to 62% of influencers did not follow the rules.

Influencers used other wording such as “collaboration” (16%), “partnership” (15%) or a general thank you to the partner brand (11%) instead of the proper “paid collaboration” label.

The posts were mainly related to fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, travel and fitness. The study found that 119 influencers even promoted unhealthy or dangerous activities such as junk food, alcoholic beverages, medical or cosmetic procedures, gambling or financial services such as cryptocurrency trading.

On 17 February 2024, the Digital Services Act will come into force, requiring greater reliability and security of the internet. Under the DSA, influencers will be required to declare whether their content contains commercial messages and provide traceability information.

The aim of the monitoring was to check whether influencers comply with EU consumer law. It looked at posts on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, X, Snapchat and Twitch. 82 influencers had more than 1 million followers, 301 had more than 100,000 and 73 had between 5,000 and 100,000 followers.

Of the 576 profiles, 358 were selected for further investigation. They will be contacted by national authorities to ask them to comply with the rules. They may even take further enforcement action.

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