June 10. 2023. 1:36

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French lawmakers pass law to crack down on influencers

French MPs and senators overcame their disagreements on the bill aimed at regulating commercial influence and combating abuses on social media on Thursday (25 May), with the text heading to a final vote next week.

The joint committee composed of the two chambers of Parliament, the Assemblée Nationale and the Senate, unanimously adopted the text yesterday, ending what the consequent public statement dubbed the “influence jungle”, as stated in the press release.

Before nailing down an agreement, the two assemblies had to bridge their differences on certain key aspects of the law: the definition, threshold, and transparency of influence, as well as the best way to combat scams and disrespect of EU laws.

Further clarifications have also been made regarding various sanitary and public health provisions and the rights of minors and animals.


A middle ground was found regarding the divergences between the two assemblies on the definition of commercial influence activity. It is thus defined as an influencer’s mobilisation of their “notoriety with the audience” in “return for payment” by a third party, either in cash or in kind.

Although removed by the senators in May, MPs reintroduced the definition of a threshold from which influence activity begins in the final text. For example, an influencer receiving a sample from a company would not typically fall under the threshold, which is set to be defined via decree at a later date.

Following the Senate’s position, which emphasised the need for transparency, it has been agreed that all advertising or sponsored videos will include a mention of “advertisement” or “commercial collaboration,” regardless of the duration of the video.

Another point for discussion was how to combat fraud and protect users from scams. The middle ground reached will see each influencer within the EU having to subscribe to civil liability insurance within the EU. In case of fraud, insurance will be rallied to compensate the victims.

Moreover, in the case of non-residency in the EU, influencers should designate legal representation within the EU who have the mandate to ensure written contracts comply with EU and French legal systems.

Public Health

MPs convinced Senators to bring flexibility to senators’ initial intention of banning the promotion of pharmaceutical or para-pharmaceutical products, leaving the promotional ban within the remits of existing French laws.

Nevertheless, the compromise extends the prohibitions of certain existing laws to promoting any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes or heat-not-burn tobacco devices like IQOS.

Furthermore, the promotion of any surgical or cosmetic medicine is strictly forbidden, together with therapeutic abstention, which refers to advising the cessation or substitution of a treatment provided by a healthcare professional.

The only exception concerns government campaign for example, promoting ongoing prevention campaigns against sexually transmitted infections or promoting vaccination campaigns.

While the Assemblée Nationale wanted to ban the promotion of beverages with additives and manufactured food products, the Senators obtained to leave the matter to the existing legal framework.

This means influencers must display health messages, such as “for your health, eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day,” when promoting these products.

Protection of minors and animals

MPs and senators agreed on strictly prohibiting the promotion of gambling activities to all minors.

In an addition to senators, MPs agreed to maintain an amendment prohibiting the advertising in any circumstances of wild animals, except for professionals such as zoos.


The issue of promoting crypto-assets (financial products and cryptocurrencies) has been left to the discretion of the French financial market authority, which strictly regulates the status of digital asset service providers.

Sanction regime

In case of infringement of this influencer law, sanctions were set based on those established for “misleading commercial practices by omission” as stipulated in the French Consumer Code: a fine of up to €300,000 or two years imprisonment.

EU law

By the end of July, the European Commission is expected to provide its opinion on the compatibility of the text with such regulations.


The compromise text must be validated by final votes in the Assemblée Nationale and the Senate next Wednesday (31 May).

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