Agcom approves new guidelines for influencers: what are the new rules

The January 10, 2024 the Council ofAgcomthe agency for communications guarantees, has unanimously approved the guidelines to identify the provisions of the Consolidated Law on audiovisual media services which influencers they will have to respect. The text, 7 pages long, is attached to the resolution published at the end of one public consultation duration 60 days. Although many are talking about the “anti-Ferragni decree”, in reference to the recent events involving the entrepreneur, the public consultation was announced by Agcom already in July.

According to the text, the new guidelines established by Agcom respond to the increasingly massive production of content via social media by creators with a large audience following and are characterized above all «by respecting the principles of transparency and of correctness of the informationto the application of the regulations regarding protection of minors and gods fundamental human rights and the provisions relating to commercial communications and of product placement».

Who are the Agcom guidelines aimed at?

A major topic of discussion within the public consultation lies precisely in the definition of what an influencer is, or more precisely which figures are required to comply with the provisions of the Consolidated Law. From this point of view, the guidelines establish that the term influencers refers to those who carry out economic activities by providing audiovisual content – accessible to the general public via social media – for which they have editorial responsibility.

Within this category, the Agcom guidelines apply to influencers who meet the following criteria:

  • they count a pool of at least 1 million followersadded together on various social networks;
  • issued at least 24 contents in the previous year;
  • they have a engagement rate by at least 2%. In the context of social media marketing, theengagement rate is the total interactions on all published content divided by the number of contents times the number of followers.

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What do the new guidelines for influencers consist of?

To comply with the provisions of the Consolidated Law, the published contents must respect certain basic principles. It will therefore be prohibited:

  • instigate violence or to crimes;
  • offend human dignityfor example through discrimination against minorities or hate speech;
  • favor the secondary victimizationi.e. the re-sensitization of a victim of violence and/or de-sensitisation of the perpetrator of the violence;
  • harm the protection of minors.

As regards specifically theeconomic and commercial activity of influencers, the new guidelines require:

  • the ban on the use of subliminal techniques for commercial content;
  • Of explain the commercial intent of the content, via text within a written content or overlay in the case of video content.

Finally, the guidelines place particular emphasis on the need to commit to providing correct and objective information, countering disinformation and respecting intellectual property.

In case of violation, the sanctions – established by the Consolidated Law – may vary from €10,000 to €250,000 for the transparency of commercial contents e from €30,000 to €600,000 for the provisions on the protection of minors.