The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it will intensify its surveillance of the commercial practices of social media leaders, Also known as influencers, seeking to protect customers, a market whose value is estimated at around €20 billion (US$21.16 billion).
The Commission will work with national authorities in the coming weeks to examine online publications and identify testimonials and product recommendations that may mislead customers, according to a statement.
People known as influencers and celebrities with a large number of followers can earn large commissions from companies for promoting products on social networks, and regulators around the world are trying to see how they can improve consumer protection.
In February, child and consumer advocates in Mexico urged the enactment of rules to prevent social media leaders from targeting minors with misleading advertising for junk food and other products.
In April, Australia said the majority of the country’s influencer posts they could have violated advertising rules on payment disclosure.
“The influencer business is thriving and many consumers – often young people or even children – trust their recommendations. But this business model also carries legal obligations,” said Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Data Protection.
“Influencers must also follow fair business practices and their followers have the right to transparent and reliable information.”