Falling behind the global marathon to attract future industries is not an option. Protectionism and subsidy races are zero-sum. Global Policy Interoperability to buttress Digital Trade and the global management of data is the future. The disruptive potential of generative AI, and immersive technologies like the Metaverse have led to an agreement on the “Hiroshima AI Process”.
The Hiroshima AI Process aims to achieve secure cross-border Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT). The principles of the Hiroshima Process include:
|IP rights protections
|Addressing the harms of misinformation
|Protections from digital harassment
The European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions (BEUC), has recently complained to the European Commission that a proliferation of misleading advertisements of crypto assets by influencers on social media is an unfair commercial practice.
The BEUC has called upon European Consumer authorities to work with European Supervisory Authorities for Financial Services to ensure that platforms review their advertising policies to prevent misleading promotions by influencers.
Influencers are online personalities who set trends and attract followers. The influencer marketing economy reached $16.4 billion in 2022. Meta Platforms has only just now introduced WhatsApp Channels. A private broadcast messaging product that allows users to follow content and influencers. Influencer marketing is usually a partnership between social-media personalities and brands to promote products or services.
Brands use celebrities to sell products, but influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements are not the same thing. Celebrity endorsement involves a sizable investment of a brand in someone, without specifying the exact return on the investment. Influencer marketing, on the other hand, allows the brand to figure out the ROI because brands can closely monitor likes, shares, tagging, mentions, and other digital activity.
Authenticity is the core of any successful influencer marketing campaign. Shaping relationships with influencers who are already relevant to a brand’s message is key. It is about building material relationships with creatives who cross thresholds and redraw boundaries.
Influencer marketing affects consumer purchasing decisions, brand identity, and influencers themselves. But beneath the thin veneer of glamour and glitter of influencer marketing, there is a baleful black-market seething with companies that deal in the trafficking of followers to influencers.
The aim is to inflate the presence of influencers. Fake followers are in fact multiple social media accounts created by one person or a cell. The profiles are sold in bundles to influencers.
Bundling fake followers has a market because brands use the metrics of an influencer’s total follower count to negotiate how much to pay an influencer. Apart from the number of followers, brands are also keen to understand the topography and the demographic spread of the influence.
The metrics help the brand to design and focus the marketing campaign on specific market segments, and to match the brand’s identity with targeted slices of various social segments. Some influencers go beyond purchasing bundles of influencers, and use social media bots to boost their digital footprint.
Fraudulent influencers on the other hand, create an image around brands with which they have no bonds or contracts. These fraudulent influencers leverage these non-existent brand associations to negotiate lucrative contracts with unsuspecting luxury brands.
Other influencers are in reality purely computer-generated characters or avatars. They attract followers, promote brands, and pretend to be real people. Deepfaking deepens these troubles and makes it even more difficult to separate fiction from fact.
Consumer advocacy groups have advised the public on fraudulent influencers, fake followers, and unreliable content related to the influencer marketing industry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, have both published guidelines for social media influencers.
“Truth in Advertising”, uses information from the Federal Trade Commission to circulate a handbook on advertising disclosures. This allows the citizen to know which product and which brands have formal relationships with which celebrities or influencers.
In France, the role of “influencer” is now defined in law. It is estimated that France has over 150,000 influencers. This estimate comes from France’s Ministry of Economics, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty in Bercy.
This Ministry shares a building with the Ministry of Public Action and Accounts. The edifice is warmheartedly called “the Bercy Fortress”, as it is staffed by obscure high-ranking civil servants, bureaucrats, and exquisite futurists.
Many influencers are visible in France but are physically elsewhere. They are persons who are paid by entrepreneurs and companies to promote their merchandise or service. However, in return for advertising on their behalf, they accept payments that they do not declare to the people they influence.
The contours of commercial activity are now delineated. Legislators now specify the “responsibilities and obligations” of influencers operating in France. Infringements could result in a maximum penalty of €300,000 or twenty-four months in jail.
Actors of commercial influence that use platforms without the capacity or capability to prohibit minors will not be able to advertise gambling games or lotteries.
In addition, the new rules touch on medical devices, cosmetic surgery, and financial products. The package of fresh legislation sets out to protect the future of France from Fake Followers and Fraudulent Influencers.
Already the economies that account for over half of global net wealth are assembling the parts of the Hiroshima AI Process. The UK plans to be at the centre of a global AI regulatory framework, and will host a world AI summit later this year.