The French government last week notified parliament of its intention to modify the law. The move followed advice from the European Commission (EC) that it contradicted the Digital Services Act, and complaints from industry players that it lacked clarity at an operational level.
Passed unanimously by the French parliament in June, the French laws introduced a range of provisions aimed at curbing nefarious activities by social media influencers, their agents and some brands.
It introduced legal definitions for “commercial influencer” and “influencer agent”, set out clear rules for labeling content and contractual obligations for influencer partnerships, and banned certain industry sectors from using influencer marketing.
The influencer marketing law also obliged social media platforms to create mechanisms for users to report illegal content and to make public reports on content moderation efforts.
Under the proposed changes, articles 1, 4, 5, and 9 relating to the definition of commercial influence, restricted sectors, labeling requirements, and influencers located outside France will be modified.
Sections of the law targeting social media platforms will be thrown out completely.
Why is this happening now?
Although broadly supportive of the law’s intent, complaints by French influencer marketers and creators about a lack of clarity, and the impracticalities of implementing the law have intensified in recent months.
Among key areas of concern: thresholds for gifting disclosure requirements, unclear fiscal and contractual obligations, and the complexity of regulating French influencers operating outside France.
Meanwhile in August, the EC advised the French government that the sections of the law pertaining to large digital platforms, social media networks and e-commerce encroached on EU regulations. The EC also complained the French had failed to allow enough time for it to review the law before it was enacted.
In response, the French government piggybacked the influencer marketing law to a new parliamentary bill to adapt law to the EU, enabling it to modify the text by ordinance.
What do the proposed changes mean for KOLs and influencer marketers operating in France?
So far, little is known about what the modified version of the influencer marketing law will look like when completed.
The government has nine months following the adoption of the piggyback law to rewrite and publish the new ordinances. It has downplayed the significance of the changes.
“These are procedural constraints and technical adaptation measures that will have a limited impact on the content of the law,” a spokesperson for the economy ministry told local media.
France’s Union for Influence Professionals and Content Creators (UMICC) has been working closely with the government on a series of decrees designed to clarify the influencer law.
It said the new legislative process provided an opportunity to promote measures to harmonize industry practices and develop a more ethical industry.
“We are also convinced that this approach is more effective and sustainable than the adjustments initially envisaged in the decrees,” UMICC said in a statement to members.