The Big Whale: You've been working on this bill for weeks. How far along is it?
The law has been introduced and will be examined by the Economic Affairs Committee on March 22. It will then be debated in a public session of the National Assembly on March 28 and 29.
This proposal is presented by Stéphane Vojetta (Renaissance deputy for French abroad) and myself. It has also received the support of the government.
Is it to be expected that the text will evolve a lot during its examination?
There should be a certain number of changes resulting from the reflections of the cross-party working group (excluding the RN, editor's note) that we initiated. It could be a rewriting at the margin, but the philosophy will remain the same. The government may also make some adjustments.
How do you define an influencer?
It is the one who will try to have an influence on consumers while being paid by a brand to do so, either directly or indirectly, i.e. with money or via benefits in kind.
What is the purpose of this bill?
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The goal is to fight against the abuses of influencers and to give a clear framework. To achieve this we will do three things.
First, we will create a status of influencer because it does not exist in the current law.
Second, we will ban certain influences considered dangerous or harmful to consumers ❌. We are thinking in particular of sports betting, alcohol or certain extremely risky financial investments.
Finally, we will create a broad framework to organize the relationship between influencers and consumers. This will include the obligation to mention that a message is an advertisement, but also impose a contractualization between influencers and their agencies.
Consumers must also have the ability to report criminal product placements.
What is your plan for influencers who speak French from abroad, such as in Dubai?
In many cases, influencers are forced to sign a contract with agencies that are based in France. This will oblige influencers to have a legal representative in France. In the end, it is the French law that will apply.
What about influencers who don't need agencies?
This will depend on judicial cooperation between France and Dubai. More generally, the administrative authorities will also be able to request the intervention of the platforms.
If you threaten an influencer with shutting down their Instagram or Twitter accounts, it's almost more effective than fining them.
Why do you want to frame influencers who talk about financial services and cryptocurrencies?
Let me be very clear to clear up any misunderstandings: the idea is not to ban talking about crypto-assets. What we are proposing is to ban the promotion of crypto services outside of any legal framework. We don't want to ban education on this topic.
What is dangerous is the remuneration of people who act as agents of influence without declaring it. Today, anyone can say anything!
We find ourselves in situations where people are over-indebted and for some on the verge of suicide. Some consumers are very fragile and need to be protected, and I would like to remind you that there are already a certain number of prohibitions in France for the promotion of financial services.
Have you talked to the influencers concerned?
These are not the ones we have exchanged with the most. We have mostly discussed the subject with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) and some representatives of the crypto sector.
Do the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) and the AMF have sufficient human resources to enforce the law?
It is up to the government to provide the means to ensure that it is applied. We will be able to defend an increase in the resources of the regulatory authorities in the next finance law.
But let's not put the cart before the horse and proceed step by step: first regulate and make sure that a certain number of abuses are no longer possible in the law.
We organize this Thursday (6:30 pm) a debate on the "influencers" law proposal with the deputy Arthur Delaporte (PS), the crypto influencer Hasheur and the lawyer Romain Chilly (ORWL Avocats). See you on Twitter.