The government is planning to impose fines of up to Rs 50 lakh on social media influencers if they fail to inform their followers about paid promotions. Social media influencers are often approached by brands to promote their products on their pages owing to their huge follower counts. The influencers who indulge in proxy promotions will have to face dire consequences if they do not disclose paid promotions.
Accordint to sources close to the development have told IANS that the Consumer Affairs Ministry is implementing fresh guidelines for social media influencers on December 24. Under which, they will have to disclose to their followers if they have been paid for the promotion of the product they are showcasing on their social media handles.
So starting today, the social media influencers will have to make sure to inform their followers that they have been paid to promote the products.
The report said that if influencers fail to reveal to their followers that they have indulged in proxy paid promotion through their platforms, then a complaint against them can be made to the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), and a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh can be imposed on them by it.
Social media influencers sometimes blindly promote products on their social media handles through posts and videos. They indirectly influence their followers into using or consuming a particular product, through their views. Whereas in reality they themselves are not fully aware of their products, this can lead to a lot of untoward circumstances.
The government currently has no guidelines to curb this kind of proxy these promotions by social media influencers. However, the government is now trying to come up with rules to prevent this practice. The sources close to the agency also revealed that new guidelines would not be limited to the social media influencers only, it will apply to the celebrities, financial influencers as well.
The guidelines are being issued to protect the consumers from any kind of false claims. “Anyone who is a social media influencer and pushing any particular brand will now have to come clean,” the sources said.
Notably, the social media influencers who get free products from the companies are subjected to pay taxes for receiving them. They are liable to pay per cent TDS if they receive a product like car, mobile, cosmetics, outfit and decide to keep them. However, if the influencers return the product to the company after using the services, they will not have to pay any taxes.