The Guideline On Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices by Social Media Influencers Has Been Published.
At the meeting of the Advertisement Board held on 04.05.2021 and numbered 309, the “Guideline on Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices by Social Media Influencers” accepted as the resolution numbered 2021/2, has been published. The aim of the guideline has been determined as to guide advertisers, agencies, media organizations and all individuals, institutions and organizations related to advertisements and applications made by social media influencers.
According to the guideline, social media influencers are defined as individuals who sell or rent a good or a service through their own social media account and engages with a targeted audience in order to inform or persuade them.
In the guideline, it was stated as the fundamental principle that covert advertising in social media as in all communication tools is forbidden.
In the guideline, which also includes covert advertising ban principle, it was mentioned that the social media influencers shall not share the goods and services that they haven’t tried out, as commercial advertising. Not limited to these, according to the guideline, social media influencers shall not advertise the goods and services provided by healthcare organizations and shall not make a health claim on the goods and services that are illegitimate. The social media influencer shall not make claims about unprovable scientific research and test results that are not based on a verified data. The social media influencer shall not create the impression that they have purchased a good or a service which has been given as a gift by the advertiser. Lastly, it was regulated that a social media influencer shall not create fake or nonexistent identities to communicate about a good or service.
In the guideline prepared based on the Consumer Protection Law with the number 6502, obligations of advertisers were included along with the obligations of social media influencers. According to the guideline, comprehensive obligations have been given to advertisers such as informing social media influencers about the guideline, asking them to comply with relevant law and regulations, taking action in case of a breach by social media influencer and making an effort for social media influencers to fulfil their obligations. It was stated that in cases where it is permitted by the advertiser for social media influencer to use third parties, third parties shall also act in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. The advertiser shall not be relieved from their obligations on the grounds that only social media influencers can be held responsible for their actions. The advertisers who prove that they have been acting in accordance with their obligations shall be deemed to put in their best effort expected from them. According to the guideline, apart from advertisers, it was stated that social media influencers, advertising agencies and media organizations shall be held responsible individually. It was stipulated in the guideline that the advertiser or commercial applicator shall not be relieved from their obligations by correcting or compensating an advertisement or commercial practice contrary to the Law no. 6502, the regulations and the guideline.
Different social media channels were covered separately in the guideline. The channels in the guideline are divided into 4 articles, including video sharing channels (Youtube, Instagram TV, etc.), photo and message sharing channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc.), podcast channels and channels where content can be seen for a short time (Snapchat, Instagram, etc.). The hashtags and explanations that shall be used by the social media influencer when advertising on each channel were specified. While sharing an advertisement, social media influencers are obliged to include a hashtag or written or verbal explanation indicating the advertisement such as #Advertisement/Promotion, #Cooperation and #Sponsor. According to the guideline, using and including at least one of the listed hashtags or explanations is sufficient and necessary. In the Article 5 of this guideline, it was stipulated that these hashtags and explanations shall be put in size that can be distinguished from the colors and the background, shall be easily readable and presented in a way that can be noticed by the consumers at first glance.