New Guidelines for Social Media Influencers & Advertising in India: Penalties of up to Rs 50 Lakh

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New Guidelines for Social Media Influencers & Advertising in India_ Penalties of up to Rs 50 Lakh

The Consumer Affairs Ministry has released a set of guidelines that social media influencers have to follow if they are endorsing or promoting any product on social media, with an aim to bring transparency to social media advertising. According to the new social media guidelines that are circulating, they were published on December 24, 2022, and non-compliance will result in a penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh for non-compliance.

What Is Social Media Advertising?

What is social media advertising

Social media advertising is a type of digital marketing that utilizes social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to deliver paid ads to your target audience. Marketing campaigns on social media are an effective and quick way to connect with consumers. 

In order to deliver personalized content based on demographics and user behavior, advertisers can leverage various data sources and hyper-target their audiences. Advertisers may see a significant increase in interactions and conversions when their audiences are introduced to their brand through social media. Social media ads are also cost-effective, giving advertisers the opportunity to generate high returns on their investments. 

More and more companies are using social media advertising to grow their companies and reach out to new consumers. If you want to reach new target markets quickly, social media advertising is a must. You need to know how these ads work and how you can benefit from them if you want to stay ahead of your competitors.

Types of social media ads

Due to the constant evolution of the internet, along with content marketing, there are many ways in which you can utilize social media platforms as a platform for your advertising strategy. There are many different types of social media ads you can use depending on your preferred social media platforms and your target audience. Below are a few of the most popular types of social media ads.

Static image ads

The common use of photos in social media advertising is due to the fact that they allow you to display your products or services in a visually appealing way. People tend to be more drawn to visuals than text, and therefore are likely to be more drawn to photo ads than text ads.

You can also add “Shop Now” buttons to your photo ads which will allow customers to make their way straight to your website. You need to make sure that you post high-quality photos as part of your marketing strategy, as well as keep your ads consistent with your organic content when using photo ads as part of your social media marketing strategy.

Video ads

In the same way that photo ads work best with visually appealing social media content, video ads work better with short-form videos. Many people are only interested in watching short videos, so you have a limited amount of time to keep people entertained.

People are able to interact with short videos created on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram while scrolling through their feeds.

Stories ads

It is possible to use photos and videos in Stories ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The ads appear full-screen and are displayed for a certain period of time depending on which social media platform and type they are placed.

For example, a photo can be viewed for a maximum of six seconds in a Facebook story, while videos can last up to fifteen seconds. Instagram Stories ads are able to be for up to 120 seconds for both photos and videos. 

As a result of these ads, users are often given the option to swipe up on them in order to access the website of the advertiser. Because Story ads can only be viewed for a limited time, marketers can use them to promote short-term deals on products and services.

Messenger ads

Messenger ads are extensively used as a part of social media advertising and are part of a wide range of campaigns. Instead of appearing on users’ news feeds in their Facebook accounts, these ads appear in the Chats tab in Messenger.

The consumer participates in a 1:1 conversation with a brand via Messenger as part of a 1:1 conversation. In order to start automated conversations with potential customers, you can create a link between your website and these chatbots. As well as answering consumers’ questions, you can also provide them with direct assistance.

Why does social media advertising need laws and guidelines?

social media advertising laws and guidelines

Although the social media advertising sector has expanded quickly in recent years, analysts believe that due to its explosive growth, it will generate $10 billion in revenue by 2020. The demand for influencers has increased as more brands have entered the market in recent years. It is inevitable that ethical lapses will happen given the amount of money flowing into a market that has been largely unregulated and is still developing. A poorly performing app that was promoted by an influencer received dozens of complaints.

It’s getting harder to tell whether influencers are engaging in legal, ethical publishing as the influencer market expands or if they’re taking dubious shortcuts that are fooling both the brands that pay them and the social media followers they’re supposed to influence. Fraud is also getting more widespread.

The fact that businesses are becoming more conscious of the fraud risk they face Because of this, an entire cottage industry that helps them has grown up. The disclosure policies of Facebook and YouTube make it much simpler to spot posts that include branded or compensated content. 

Instagram targets influencers by using third-party applications to automatically like, comment on, and follow the accounts of other users. Instagram warned users who continued to use these apps that their experience would be “impacted.”

Need to regulate social media

  • When compared to print and other media, digital/social media has an enormous reach, scale, and size.
  • Due to the diverse nature of Indian society in terms of religion, economic status, caste, and language, content regulation has always been important. As a consequence of this, the effects of digital media on society are the basis on which the state regulates the use of digital media.
  • It is true that the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 regulates electronic media in India, but there is either no law or body that oversees digital content. Due to some people taking advantage of social media, there is too much noise and voice.
  • The spread of fake news items has been rapid in India recently, especially on Facebook and WhatsApp.
  • In digital/social media, there is no editorial control, which leads to unregulated user-generated content on a large scale.
  • Five men were lynched in Maharashtra in 2018 after fake information circulated on WhatsApp.
  • Indian domestic affairs are more at risk than ever from foreign influence and interference, especially from hostile neighbors like China and Pakistan.
  • Social media must be regulated to curb fake news, defamation, and trolling, according to the Supreme Court.  In addition, it asked that guidelines be created by the Union government to guard users’ privacy while preventing misuse of social media.

laws implemented till date Internationally

NetzDG: Germany’s Network Enforcement Act is vital to combating hate speech online.

Those who fail to delete illegal content systemically face fines of up to €50 million under the law, which took effect on January 1, 2018. According to supporters, the legislation is an efficient and necessary response to the threat of online hatred and extremism. As the result, social media platforms will be forced to respond to this new painful liability with unnecessary takedowns, which is seen by critics as an attempt to privatize a new ‘draconian’ censorship regime.

European Union

By requiring companies to aggressively police their platforms for illicit content, the Digital Services Act aims to address social media’s societal harms.

The Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (Australia)

Establishing the Online Safety Commissioner and defining the commissioner’s powers, functions, and governance arrangements; regulating the internet industry and the content services industry in relation to prohibited and potentially prohibited content is the Online Content Scheme in Schedules 5 and 7 of the BSA.

The IT Act (2000)

The Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) contains a number of provisions that are intended to safeguard users online. The IT Act criminalizes a number of cybercrimes involving computer resources, including hacking (commonly known as dishonest or fraudulent access to a computer resource; Section 66), identity theft (Section 66C), cheating by impersonation (Section 66D), violation of bodily privacy (Section 66E), publication or transmission of obscene material in electronic form (Section 67), and publication or transmission of material containing sexual content.

According to Section 77B of the IT Act, these cybercrimes are cognizable offenses, and each one of them is punishable by imprisonment for a term that may be as long as three or five years. These cybercrimes are in addition to the various cognizable offenses punishable under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which includes the cognizable offense of stalking through electronic communication (Section 354D).

The new guidelines introduced by the Indian government

According to social media news, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is set to replace the existing IT Act 2000 with a new and more important act, the Digital India Act (DIA). It consists of guidelines related to cybercrime.

As a result of this act, any mishaps involving women or children will be prevented. The Digital India Act (DIA) was discussed by IT Minister Rajiv Chandrashekhar at the opening of Bennett University’s Center for Law and Computing Technology.

According to reports, the Digital India Act divides various online intermediaries into various categories and stipulates particular rules for each, including social media platforms, e-commerce platforms, and fact-checking portals. The government has divided various online intermediaries into various categories as part of the Digital India Act, including social media platforms, e-commerce websites, and fact-checking portals.

In addition to Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, and Instagram, the Digital India Act (DIA) will cover over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Google Prime, and other online apps that trap personal information. Web3 applications, such as metaverse and blockchain, are also included.

Any OTT platform, like Netflix or Amazon, that violates content policies in a way that misinforms or incites violence is subject to the Digital India Act. The Digital India Act (DIA) bill also creates a digital space regulator and outlines the penalties for breaking the rules. There are also provisions governing emerging arenas such as blockchain and the metaverse.

Brands pay influencers on social media to promote their goods as a result of the money they receive from them. According to the guidelines, if social media influencers endorse a brand after receiving payment, they must disclose their relationships with the brand.

Influencers on social media who support a company while getting paid for it are required to disclose their connection to the company. In these endorsement posts, social media influencers need to include disclaimers.

Developments occurred in social media

A hardening of stances against big tech comes amid growing discontent over social media platforms’ alleged arbitrary actions on flagged content. Given that 800 million Indians are online, the Center has said it will bring a modern framework of laws and rules that will act as catalysts for innovation and protect the rights of “Digital Nagriks.

The withdrawn draft Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill was replaced in August 2022 by a new set of universally accepted laws, which also included laws governing online privacy. India has tightened IT rules to ensure the safety of digital and social media users, and work on a new data protection law, online gaming regulations, and the contours of the draft Digital India Act are expected to be released soon.

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