This article was last updated on May 19, 2023
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Dutch influencers are taking advantage of the lack of punitive measures in advertising regulations
Since becoming law last summer, major content creators on social media have been required to adhere to stricter advertising guidelines which many refuse to follow. Responsibilities lies with the Dutch Media Authority to monitor but no fines have been given out according to reports.
Free products and travel are perks of the job for social media influencers. What has become known as content creators, use their engaged audiences to advertise products from brands worldwide. Any sponsored content must be clearly labelled as advertising. Since July 2020, influencers with more than 500,000 followers operating on platforms including Instagram, YouTube and TikTok must obey these regulations.
The media advertising laws have long been established, since 2002, for example, tobacco advertising is forbidden and television content cannot be used for surreptitious advertising. Despite this, tighter and more specific rules have been implemented as it has become easier in the digital age for people to gain significant audiences using social media.
The addition of new regulations are in place to protect minors as influencers have been found to significantly influence their behaviour through advertising.
Rules not being adhered to
Reports suggest that many social media influencers have not listened to the rules put in place. In recent research carried out by The Dutch Media Authority, fifty prominent influencers were analysed for compliance to regulations. Over half of them failed to obey the law. Many videos expanded without adequate transparency of sponsored content, this failing to be in line with regulations.
The study conducted further highlighted that self-promotion was used without transparency of business owners in the videos. The Dutch Media Authority found that the majority of YouTube channels still to have registered despite the enforcement of the stricter rules.
No fines issued yet
The Dutch Media Authority issued letters to influencers who were found to not be following the new regulations with the threat of punishment in future. To date, no fines or punishments have been given. Some offenders have registered with the CvdM.
Social media expert and Advertising Code Commissioner, Joey Scheufler has stated that it is time for a crackdown on non-compliance.
Research was conducted only on the popular Dutch-based YouTube channels with half a million followers, of which there are 186. Many of the channels were found to not be registered with the CvdM or under proper regulation.
At present, there are no plans to introduce fines in the Netherlands for influencers found to be exploiting advertising regulations.
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