The activity carried out by influencers is progressively taking on the characteristics of a business, often managed by individuals outside traditional commercial environments and by individuals who may not have a complete awareness of the dynamics of commercial communication. Not only that, it has also taken on an entertainment dimension with significant social impacts: influencers, in fact, through the dissemination of online content, have a significant influence on a large audience so much so that their impact can be compared to that of traditional media.
In this context, AGCOM (Communications Guarantee Authority), which has been trying to regulate the work of influencers for some time now, has adopted new rules to guarantee adequate transparency in the activity of these professionals, reflecting the growing importance of regulating the sector in an increasingly influential digital landscape.
The Council of the Communications Regulatory Authority has unanimously approved the Guidelines aimed at ensuring compliance by influencers with the provisions of the Consolidated Law on audiovisual media services.
The Guidelines also include the initiative to launch a technical table for the creation of a code of conduct that establishes the rules that influencers will have to comply with. This code will be formulated in compliance with the principles outlined in the Guidelines and will include transparent and recognizable mechanisms for influencers, guaranteeing their identification and availability.
Those who work in the field of influencer marketing will also participate in the technical table. Therefore, it will involve not only the influencers themselves but also the intermediaries who facilitate relationships between them and companies. This approach will allow the needs of these subjects to be taken into consideration.
AGCOM is evaluating sanctioning measures for violations of the new provisions and underlines the importance of respecting the rules protecting the fundamental rights of the individual, minors and the values of sport.
The outcome of the public consultation will reveal how Italy will face this challenge, seeking a balance between transparency, responsibility and flexibility in the Influencer Marketing sector.
Currently, there is no specific unitary discipline for influencers; however, some laws, such as those on unfair competition, industrial property and copyright, already apply to the activity of this sector. The Consumer Code can also be used to address unfair commercial practices by new digital professionals.
The rules provide, among other things, that influencers are required to display writing that highlights the advertising nature of the content in a readily and immediately recognizable way. Measures also regarding commercial communications and the protection of personal rights, with a mechanism of warnings and orders for the removal or adaptation of contents.
Authorities such as the Antitrust Play a significant role in monitoring the activity of influencers. These authorities have long requested that the promotional nature of content published on social media be made clear, for example through the use of the hashtag #adv.
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