The Guideline on Industrial Commercial and Unfair Industrial Practices Carried out by Social Media Influencers Has Been Printed in Turkey
“The Commercial Advertising and Unfair Business Practices Policy Enforced by Social Media Influencers” (“Policy”), which was created on the basis of Consumer Protection Act number 6502 (“Consumer Protection Act”) to be used as the basis for commercial advertising and to serve unfair business practices The company operated by Social Media Influencers was enacted by the Advertisement Board and came into effect according to its decision with number 2021/2 of May 4, 2021. According to the guideline;
- Social media is a real person or legal entity that enables users to create, view or broadcast content such as text, images and audio on the Internet for social interaction purposes under Act No. 5651 on the Regulation of Internet Broadcasts and Prevention sharing crimes committed through such broadcasts.
- Social media influencer is a person who engages in marketing communications through a social media account to facilitate the sale or rental of goods and services offered by themselves or the advertiser in order to inform or convince the target audience.
The aim of the guideline is to guide and inform advertisers, advertising agencies, media organizations and all persons, institutions and bodies involved in commercial advertising and business practices of social media influencers.
The main rules in the directive
The main principles and obligations of the guideline are as follows:
- The disclosure obligation for the advertisements carried out by social media influencers is regulated. The commercial communications carried out by social media influencers must be clearly and intelligibly disclosed as advertising. Hidden advertising, in oral, written and visual form, is prohibited on social media, as well as on all types of communication devices. For this purpose, the social media influencers were required to disclose information on the relevant platforms in order to show consumers that the posts by the social media influencers are advertising.
- The commercial communications offered on social media are divided into four groups based on the following platforms:
- Advertising on video sharing platforms (such as Youtube and Instagram TV)
- Advertising on photo and message exchange platforms (such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter)
- Advertising on podcast platform
- Advertising on platforms on which the content is visible for a short time (such as Snapchat and Instagram)
- Specific disclosure requirements have been established for each group. The statements on compliance with the disclosure obligation are variable for each platform group. In general, these are hashtags like #Advertisement, #Sponsor, #Collaboration, and instructions like “This video contains [advertiser’s] Advertising.”.
- The advertiser is obliged to inform the social media influencers about the policy, to oblige the social media influencers to comply with the relevant legal provisions and to take measures to respond to violations of the obligations. The advertiser’s obligations cannot be neglected as this is the responsibility of the social media influencer. The social media influencers, advertisers and advertising agencies are cumulatively and separately liable for any violations of the policy.
- The breach of the directive constitutes hidden advertising within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act and the Ordinance on Commercial Advertising and Unfair Business Practices. The corresponding sanctions as suspension of advertising or fines are imposed.