On 5 May 2021, the Advertising Board of the Ministry of Trade published the Guideline on Commercial Advertising and Unlawful Commercial Practices Social Media Influencers ("Guideline") pursuant to the Consumer Protection Law ("Law"). The Guideline aims to inform all advertising industry stakeholders, including advertisers, advertising agencies and platforms, on how the advertising activities of social media influencers ("Influencers") are regulated. The Guideline is available here (in Turkish).
The Guideline regulates the main advertising principles relevant to Influencers. According to the Guideline:
- Oral, written or visual hidden advertising is strictly prohibited on social media, as in other platforms.
- If an Influencer advertises a product or a service from which the Influencer received a financial benefit, or receives it free of charge or with a discount, the Influencer must disclose this fact using hashtags.
- Any form of Influencer advertising must be clearly distinguishable from other types of content. Consumers must be able to understand at first sight that a communication on social media has a commercial goal.
- Video sharing platforms
- Photograph and message sharing platforms
- Podcast sharing platforms
- Platforms where the content is available for a limited time
On all platforms, the main requirement is to disclose that the communication consists of advertising through the use of revealing hashtags such as "#Sponsor", "#Isbirligi", "#Reklam" or "#Tanitim".
Although the Guideline regulates the liabilities of advertisers, advertising agencies and Influencers separately, all of them are personally liable for compliance with the Guideline.
Additionally, advertisers have the obligation to inform and request compliance from Influencers with regard to the requirements regulated under the Guideline, the Law and further relevant legislation. Noncompliance with the obligations defined in the Guideline is subject to monetary and preventive sanctions regulated under the Law.
The Guideline fills an essential gap in the online advertising sector. Advertisers, advertising agencies and Influencers should carefully assess the Guideline, and all of them should take necessary actions to ensure compliance.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.