20 Greek influencers are screened – 2024-04-19 05:06:12

The Ministry of Development, in collaboration with the Independent Public Revenue Authority (AADE), has launched an extensive audit operation on social media.

The aim of the business is to identify “influencers” who are active on the platforms and promote or advertise products and services on behalf of companies, without declaring their commercial activity and without paying the due taxes.

The checks were carried out on a pan-European level from 27.10.2023 to 30.11.2023 and involved 22 competent authorities of the member states of the Union. The coordination of the checks was done by European Commission through the Cooperation Network of the competent national authorities of the Member States for the enforcement of consumer legislation (Consumer Protection Cooperation Network). The controls concern a total of 576 “influencers” from all over Europe, while 20 of them come from our country.

In the immediate future they will receive a letter from Ministry of Development with which they will be thoroughly informed and will be asked to immediately take the necessary corrective actions so that their activities are adapted to what is provided for by European consumer legislation.

In particular, in the letter that the 20 Greek “influencers” will receive from the Ministry of Development:

  1. EU legislation is highlighted. as well as the consumer protection law in Greece that applies to the commercial communications of all “influencers”
  2. the points in the posts of the “influencers” are highlighted, where they need improvement, especially regarding the cases of disclosure of commercial communication for the purpose of promoting products/services, so that they contribute in this way to the formation of a correct commercial communication with the consumer public, which will be governed by transparency and
  3. recommendations are proposed for the use of appropriate labeling, given that commercial communication to promote a product or service should be displayed in such a way that it is immediately clear to the consumer that it is an advertising action. In this context, influencers should use the hashtags #advertisement or #advertising or #advertising, as well as the special communication tools available from the platforms themselves: “paid partnership”, “paid partnership”, “paid partnership ‘, to ensure that the consumer public is aware that the communication to promote a product or service has an advertising content.

The results of the controls on the Greek “influencers”

From the control of Greek “influencers”, it was found, among other things, that while 100% carry out commercial activity, only 25% – and not always in a completely clear way – informs the consumer that the content of the posts has a commercial purpose (e.g. (e.g. includes ads).

50% do not provide clear information to the consumer regarding their commercial identity, while of those who maintain their own sales websites, 50% state that they are registered in the General Commercial Register
(G.E.MI.).

Violation investigation

All the data of the audits carried out will also be forwarded to the competent services of the Independent Public Revenue Authority to identify possible tax violations.

For those cases of “influencers” who have their own sales websites and conclude distance contracts with consumers and for which violations have been found, the administrative sanctions provided for by the consumer legislation will be imposed.

Research in Europe

  • Of the 97% of verified “influencers” whose posts are commercial in content, only 20% clearly state to the consumer that they are advertising or commercial in nature.
  • 78% of “influencers” carry out a commercial activity, however only 36% of them are registered in a commercial register in their country, to the extent that this is provided by the national legislation of the member state.
  • 30% of the “influencers” do not provide complete information about their company, such as trade name, geographic address, e-mail address, or even a registration number.
  • 38% do not use the special notification tools available from the platforms, such as the “paid partnership” indicator on Instagram, in their posts. Instead, they choose a different wording, such as “collaboration” (16%), “partnership” (15%) or other, general thanks to the companies (brands) they worked with (11%).
  • 40% of influencers keep the commercial disclosure visible throughout the commercial communication.
  • 34% of “influencers” list the disclosures in a way that is immediately visible, without requiring additional steps from the consumer, such as clicking on the “read more” indicator or going to the bottom of the page.
  • 40% of influencers display and promote their own products and services. However, 60% of them do not provide clear and unambiguous information that this is a commercial activity and promotion of their own products.

As a result of the EU Sweep 2023, of the 576 “influencers” checked in phase 1, 358 “influencers” are scheduled for further investigation by the competent authorities for the enforcement of consumer law at national level.

According to the newsit, influencers and consumers can be informed by the European Commission’s website/information library (Influencer Legal Hub), which includes, among other things, a number of educational videos and information from various sources presenting the legal obligations, fair trade practices and applicable European consumer protection standards.

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