The AGCOM (Italian Communications Authority) has adopted guidelines to regulate the activity of influencers. These guidelines aim to ensure that influencers respect principles of transparency and accuracy of information, protect minors and individuals’ fundamental rights, and provide clear commercial communication.
The guidelines define the “influencer” as a subject that manages an economic activity related to the creation, selection and publication of online content addressed to users in the Italian territory. As such, they may fall under national jurisdiction as audiovisual media services.
Scope of Application:
Initially, the guidelines will apply only to influencers who offer audiovisual content in exchange for monetary compensation (or the provision of goods or services) that:
- reach at least 1 million followers on all the platforms and social media they operate;
- have published at least 24 pieces of content in the previous year that have the characteristics defined by the Guidelines;
- have had at least a 2% engagement rate in the last 6 months on at least one platform or social media.
Provisions Directly Applicable to Influencers:
– Compliance with the general principles of accurate and objective information.
– Compliance with copyright law.
– Respect of human dignity.
– Adherence to rules on commercial communications, in particular the principle of transparency when sponsored or paid to publish content.
Code of Conduct:
The guidelines also anticipate the creation of one or more codes of conduct providing for additional measures to ensure compliance with these rules. This includes the creation of a transparency system able to identify content creators.
These codes will be drafted by a working group chaired by the AGCOM.
In line with the EU’s position, such guidelines recall the recent French Law No. 2023-451 adopted last summer.
Indeed, since June 10, 2023, influencers operating in France must also comply with a series of obligations and prohibitions, accompanied by sanctions:
- A ban on the promotion of certain goods or services, such as cosmetic surgery, products containing nicotine, sports betting subscriptions, gambling, or any promotion involving non-domestic animals;
- The obligation to explicitly indicate when a post is sponsored (with the mention “Advertising” or “Commercial collaboration”), under a penalty of 2 years of imprisonment and a €300,000 fine;
- The obligation to explicitly indicate when an image is modified (“Edited Image”) or generated by an AI (“Virtual Image”) under a penalty of 1 year of imprisonment and a €4,500 fine.
Particular attention is also paid to the protection and awareness of young people, and the issue of dropshipping.
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