Back in June 2019 we referred that the General Directorate of Consumer Affairs (DGC), a public entity of the Ministry of Economy in charge of consumer protection policy in Portugal, published an "Information Guide on rules and good practices in commercial communication in the digital environment". 

The purpose of this guide was to provide advertisers and influencers with a tool that allowed them to get to know the obligations inherent to their commercial activity and to become aware of the obligation to comply with the applicable law. 

Almost 1 year from the moment the Guide was published the DGC - whose powers include the supervision and monitoring of commercial and institutional advertising and the conduct of administrative offence proceedings – started the first administrative offence proceedings against influencers. In particular, the DGC started 40 administrative offence proceedings with regard to advertising messages and social network posts related to: online gambling, alcoholic beverages, toys, gender equality, air fares, college trips and tobacco. 

These proceedings are the result of several inspection activities that were carried out by DGC with regard to several advertising communications, namely the ones that are made through websites and social networks. 

Until now, the DGC has focused on an educational approach by trying to sensitize influencers to comply with the applicable legislation, but such posture proved to lack effectiveness, as most of the influencers continued not to comply with the applicable rules (e.g. identifying the social media post as advertising). 

Thus, one may ask if this new stance adopted by the DGC will prove to be effective. We believe it will certainly raise more awareness on influencers that use their social network account as their main source of income through the posting of advertising materials.

Co-author by Jose Maria Alves

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