France ups influencer regulation

Edition 100 | Looking back at 100 newsletter editions

Issue #100 | Your reading time this week is 6 mins. 30 secs.

This week KSI apologises for racial slur; pauses social media. France cracks down on influencers. Instagram Marketplace fails to find its grove and we look back at 100 editions of this newsletter.

France ups influencer regulation

This week, France’s National Assembly adopted a bill aimed at cracking down on influencers who fail to disclose ads, and who promote scams online. Article 1 is the meatiest part of the bill, though the document is spread across four Articles. I’ve pulled out the highlights below:

Article 1 details:

  • Provides a legal definition of a commercial influencer

  • Addresses child influencers

  • Bans influencers from advertising surgical operations and counterfeit products

  • Combats hidden advertising by mandating influencers must “display the promotions in a clear, legible and identifiable manner”

Article 2 details:

  • Calls for written contracts to be put in place between influencers, their agents, and advertisers, which must include clauses relating to the identity of the parties, the nature of the missions entrusted, the terms of remuneration, and submission to the French right

  • And, if my rusty schoolboy French is to be trusted, a new clause (p.7 iv) has been introduced, which demands that images containing filters or Photoshopping techniques must be disclosed so that they are “clear, legible and identifiable”

  • Article 3 says social media platforms must establish mechanisms to report manifestly illegal content

  • Article 4 cracks down on misleading advertising

The bill now ascends to the Senate for a vote.

Influence is King

This newsletter is supported by Fourth Floor – a digital marketing agency that fully understands the power of influence. Fourth Floor is an insight-led creative, social and influencer agency that enables games businesses to engage audiences, build emotional connections and get results. They build bespoke campaigns by combining any number of their services, which include advocacy, production, commerce and events. Find out how they can help your business at 

Instagram’s creator marketplace fails to hit the mark

Instagram’s plan to disintermediate influencer marketing agencies and platforms through its roll-out of a creator marketplace is failing to hit its mark with both brands and influencers.

Insider spoke with 17 creators. Only three of them had scored a brand collab via the feature. Of course, 17 isn’t a significant sample set - and Instagram’s creator marketplace remains in beta testing mode - but the issues raised feel universal, and include:

  • Brands offering low pay (many were $100 - $200)

  • Brands offering payment in kind, via gifting, store credit, or gift cards

  • Creator community size not recognised - A creator with 8,000 followers was shown some of the same opportunities as another with 400,000.

Record label forces AI-generated song off air

Grandayy, a YouTuber with 2.91m subscribers, was handed a copyright strike this week over his AI-generated parody of an Eminem song. Universal Music Publishing Group claimed Grandayy’s video infringes on its copyright. The video was labelled as AI-generated content (both in the title and within the video). The case is particularly poignant coming a fortnight after The US Copyright Office issued new guidance clearing up how it treats artistic works created with the help of artificial intelligence. According to Reuters’ reporting, the new guidance centres on whether AI's contributions are "the result of mechanical reproduction" - such as in response to text prompts - or if they reflect the author's "own mental conception."

How GenZ are getting their (Fan)fix

Young creators are turning to Fanfix to earn and connect with their most loyal fans. The community app enables creators to monetize their following by creating clean, exclusive, brand-friendly, behind-the-scenes content.

Creators set their own monetisation levels through subscription and tip-to-DM prices. The app takes 20% of the transaction. According to TechCrunch, Fanfix has attracted 10m+ users (3,000 creators) with annual income for active creators averaging $70,000. As of April, Fanfix says it paid out $11 million to creators, with projections to be at $50 million by the end of the year.

Should I pay or should I go now?

Digiday looks at how paid verification at platforms including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will impact marketers and creators. Advocates say that granting access to verification for everyone at a price shifts away from the necessity for large follower counts. It will enable niche and nano creators to be taken more seriously and gain access to some features reserved for verified accounts.

A look inside YouTube's Creator Day

YouTube Shorts just hosted its first #YouTubeCreatorDay at its Playa Vista office in Los Angeles. 150+ creators attended and discussed their experiences of the short-form video platform. There was also a chance to network with their peers.

KSI apologises for racial slur, pauses social media

KSI has said sorry for using a racial slur in one of his videos. The YouTuber turned boxer turned Prime Hydration co-owner says he’ll step back from social media for a while. KSI was filming a video for his Sidemen YouTube channel. The skit was based on the gameshow Countdown. Given the letters available he suggested the word “P*k*” a deeply offensive term used to describe Pakistanis and Indians.

KSI apologised via a Tweet saying: “I’ve always said to my audience that they shouldn’t worship me or put me on a pedestal because I’m human. I’m not perfect, I’m gonna mess up in life, and lately I’ve been messing up a lot. So I’ve decided I’m gonna just take a break from social media for a while.”

TikTok clobbered with £12.7m fine for misusing children's data

According to an investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), TikTok used the data of children under 13 without parental consent. Information Commissioner John Edwards claimed an estimated one million under-13s were inappropriately granted access to the platform, with TikTok collecting and using their personal data.

TikTok and ByteDance spent over $16 million on federal lobbying in the US

Politico reports that since 2019, TikTok and ByteDance have paid over $16m for US federal lobbying (note that this doesn’t include lobbying at the state level). Seems a lot. But how does the figure - spread across four years - compare with other big tech firms? Regular readers will recall that Amazon spent nearly $20m on lobbying efforts last year alone (newsletter #92). Apple spent a total of $9.36m in 2022, and Microsoft nearly $10m.

Pinterest expands Creator Inclusion Fund

Pinterest is to expand its Creator Inclusion Fund to five new countries, namely Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France. The Fund is Pinterest’s incubator program to elevate creators from historically marginalised communities through financial and educational support. Read more here.

YouTube’s Analytics for Artists now includes Shorts

YouTube is updating its Analytics for Artists tool to include YouTube-Shorts-related data in the “Total Reach” metric. This new metric shows how many people creators’ music is reaching across all formats, making it the most comprehensive snapshot of the size of an artist's audience on YouTube. The company has also created a brand new Songs section in Analytics, to help artists see how fans are listening to their music or creating with it, across all video formats, all in one place.

NATO bans TikTok on work devices

NATO has banned employees from downloading TikTok onto their NATO-provided devices. The North Atlantic alliance cites security concerns.

Australia to ban TikTok on government devices

Australia is on a sticky wicket, at once courting China as the Lucky Country’s largest trading partner, whilst also protecting its citizens from undue influence and the threat of spying. Now, the Australian government has said it is to ban TikTok on all federal government-owned devices due to security issues.

Instagram NFTs to shutter next week

So long, farewell: Meta is letting Instagram users know that their current, active NFTs in the short-lived app will be deactivated as of April 11th. Was Instagram’s NFT app simply ahead of its time? Was it a casualty of the crypto winter? Do NFTs currently provide insufficient utility for real-life consideration? I think digital assets including NFTs have a bright future in the mid-to-long future. But NFTs were hijacked by JPG apes, celebrities trying to regain relatability, and by speculators hyping this asset class.

  • → "A rotten sewer of opinion which is absolutely essential to everyday life” - How British politicians view social media

  • → Generative AI comes to video: US start-up is working on systems that can produce short videos based on a few words typed into a computer [NYT]

After 100 editions, now is time for something new

This is the centenary edition of the newsletter. We launched two years ago during the Covid pandemic. Over the months together we’ve charted the rebrand of Facebook to Meta, and with that name-change the promises of a metaverse - a rebadging and bundling of virtual reality, augmented reality, and gaming, all wrapped within ideas of self-expression and self-identification.

We’ve seen influencer marketing grow in value over those two years, from being worth $13.8 billion in 2021 to a global forecast of $17.4 billion this year. And with that increased value has come increased scrutiny.

We’ve charted the UK Parliament’s select committee into influencer culture. And the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport’s consultation on online advertising.

We’ve seen the rise of professionalism within our sector, with the formation of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body in the UK, and similar organisations in other jurisdictions, including the Australian Influencer Marketing Committee (AiMCO). Declaration: I lead the IMTB, and Fourth Floor is one of our valued members.

Just last week we noted that our sector has been sufficiently de-risked for ad holding agencies to include influencer marketing agencies within their portfolios.

Our industry is in transition from its fragmented opening phase to the next scale-up phase. This will be a time to expect major industry players to begin emerging, gobbling up competitors, and forming empires.

You’ve read more than 1,275 news articles about influencer marketing through these newsletters, clocking up around 140,000 words. And there is much more to come. Starting next week we are shifting platforms, and rebranding as Creator Briefing. Please look out for Creator Briefing <[email protected]> in your inbox next Wednesday lunchtime (UK time).

Here’s to the next 100 editions.

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