PARIS, France – Influencers in France face the threat of prison sentences or major fines under new legislation adopted by parliament on Thursday that is aimed at cracking down on undeclared advertising and fraud.
Touted as an effort to ensure online personalities face the same advertising rules as traditional media, the bill has made its way through parliament with cross-party support since March, culminating with a vote by the Senate on Thursday.
“The law of the jungle is over,” said Arthur Delaporte of the opposition Socialist Party who jointly sponsored the legislation with Stephane Vojetta from the ruling Renaissance party.
“We can be proud of this unprecedented agreement,” senator Amel Gacquerre, who piloted the legislation in the senate, said after the vote.
France is estimated to have around 150,000 influencers, many of whom have a modest audience, but some have millions of subscribers and help set trends in sectors from fashion to video games.
Their commercial activities – accepting money in exchange for promoting a product – are often undeclared and until now they have lacked a specific legal status in France.