Social media influencers must be explicit about corporate sponsorship in Korea

2020.06.24 11:48:33 | 2020.06.24 14:42:03

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Social media influencers in South Korea must disclose their business relationship with corporate sponsors when pitching a new product or service on their online platforms, under a new guideline by the country’s antitrust watchdog.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) revealed on Tuesday the revised advertising rules for social media to be effective from September 1.

Under the new disclosure guidelines, online influencers need to state in a clearly visible manner whether their product endorsements were “financially rewarded.”

They need to specify the nature of their business relationship, whether they were paid to write the review or received the product at a discount or for free. Vague wording like “used for a week” or “reviewer group” or “this is a promotional article” won’t be tolerated.

[Photo by The Fair Trade Commission]이미지 확대

[Photo by The Fair Trade Commission]

On YouTube and other video platforms, the disclosure needs to be placed in the title, or at the start or end of the video. It needs to be repeated regularly so that viewers who catch only a clip of the video are also made aware of the sponsorship.

On Instagram, the notice needs to be given inside the photo, not just in hashtags or in the comments section. Reviews on blogs or other written forms would need to make the sponsorship clear at the very beginning or end where it’s hard to miss. The message needs to be written apart from the rest of the text in easy-to-read font.

Influencers also need to specify if they are in a contractual relationship with their sponsor. The FTC last year cracked down on companies for the first time on deceptive advertising through influencer reviews.

By Baek Sang-kyung and Kim Hyo-jin

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