Influencers in France face jail time if they are caught breaking new advertising restrictions.
Influencers in France may now risk jail time if they are proven to have violated new marketing restrictions, following the formal adoption of legislation on Thursday.
The harsh new legislation are intended to safeguard customers from deceptive or fraudulent online commercial operations.
They limit the promotion of lottery and betting games and prohibit the advertising of commodities such as tobacco.
It is the first time in Europe that the function has been legally defined.
After passing through the remainder of parliament, the cross-party measure was approved unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday.
Influencers are internet personalities with a huge following who can set trends. Some encourage others to buy the things they are marketing but do not always disclose that they are being paid to advertise them.
Faced with a surge in the number of individuals being scammed online, French lawmakers said they aimed to “clarify the contours” of commercial activity and identify the “responsibilities and obligations” of influencers.
Under their new legislation, “actors of commercial influence” will be barred from advertising lottery or gambling games on platforms that cannot restrict minors.
Along with cigarettes, the promotion of cosmetic surgery, financial items, and medical equipment will be prohibited.
Infringements might result in a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine of up to €300,000 (£257,000; $322,000).
However, there are questions about the authorities’ ability to enforce the new rules, particularly when influencers’ accounts are accessible in France but the individual is physically beyond the country’s jurisdiction.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Finance, Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, France has more than 150,000 influencers.