Understanding the Legal Framework of Influencer Marketing in the EU

In our newsletters, we typically delve into the intricacies of litigation and arbitration, focusing on the institutions and regulations that govern disputes. However, we’ve recently developed a unique interest in the art of influencing people, not within the courtroom, but in everyday life. As such, we’re thrilled to introduce our latest edition dedicated to influencers and the legal landscape—or lack thereof— surrounding their activities. Who exactly are these influencers? What regulations govern their operations, if any? And what responsibilities do they bear for the information they disseminate?
From social media personalities to celebrity endorsers, influencers manifest in various forms and possess diverse audiences and reach. Yet, despite their significant impact on society, the realm of influencer marketing often exists within a gray area of regulation. While certain jurisdictions have specific guidelines concerning the disclosure of sponsored content, many others lack comprehensive rules.
This discrepancy can give rise to issues concerning transparency and authenticity, particularly when influencers endorse products or services without adequately disclosing their affiliations with brands.
Equally significant is the exploration of the responsibilities that influencers bear for the information they disseminate. With their substantial reach and influence, they carry a duty to uphold the accuracy and integrity of the content they share. This includes maintaining transparency regarding any conflicts of interest and adhering to ethical standards, particularly when endorsing products or providing advice, including on health-related matters.
In an age where opinions hold increasing sway over our decisions, whether in choosing clothing, food or even seeking information about medications, understanding the landscape of influence is paramount.

In Italy, the recent case involving  Chiara Ferragni and her way of communicating charity and sponsored content has caused a stir. The issue had been of such a magnitude that it had convinced the Government and associations to write ad hoc laws and guidelines.

The regulatory framework of Influencer Marketing in other European states

In the digital age, influencers are perhaps the most powerful marketing tools. They are able to influence consumers choice and disseminate ideas with unprecedented reach and speed. They have, simply put, revolutionized the world of advertising and communication.

However, the regulatory framework governing influencer advertising remains complex and unclear, often involving various laws, guidelines, and self-regulatory codes.

The section of this insight covering Italy delves into the legal complexities of influencers’ status, and the lack of specific laws defining and regulating the activities and responsibilities of these personalities.