UOKiK (Office of Competition and Consumer Protection) imposed penalties on Polish influencers who have not decided to cooperate with officers in the matter of explaining the marking of advertising content in social media. President Tomasz Chróstny announces that this is just the beginning.
The Office sent inquiries to several dozen leading Polish influencers in order to collect information on marketing conducted on their profiles and to verify their marking of advertising content in social media . Unfortunately, several of them did not provide the information or did not send the documents requested by the office.
– We counted on the good will of Internet authors, but some of them did not answer the questions asked, avoided presenting specific documents or information, or did not receive correspondence.
Lack of cooperation in the course of the proceedings is a serious violation, as it may make it difficult to prove the use of a prohibited practice, and it significantly extends the possibility of establishing the actual state of affairs, explains the President of UOKiK.
Such a lack of cooperation is a violation of the law and may result in a fine of up to 50 million euros. UOKiK has not decided to use this upper limit. In total, he sent six decisions on punishment for the amount of 139000 zloty.
Polish influencers that will be the first to pay:
- Kruszwil Marek Kruszel, who has to pay 50000 zloty
- MD Marcin Dubiel – 25,000 zloty
- Maffashion Julia Kuczyńska – 30000 zloty
- Paweł Malinowski – 20,000 zloty
- Marcin Malczyński – 10,000 zloty
- Marley Marlena Sojka – 4,000 zloty
The decisions are not final. The Polish influencers can appeale them to the court.
Let me remind you that the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) issued recommendations regarding the labelling of advertising content in social media.
– As part of the explanatory proceedings, we examined the profiles of the most popular influencers and their contracts, checking the terms of cooperation and arrangements with advertisers – brands and marketing agencies.
We checked, among others, what exactly is the negligence in marking sponsored posts – when is the creator to blame, and when the client himself requires hiding the nature of the advertisement. Therefore, it was necessary to obtain the authors’ answers to specific questions or to send us relevant documents – explains Tomasz Chróstny.
Consultations on the development of detailed guidelines are still underway, including with the users themselves on the Instagram profile of the office or with scientists, among others from the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies at the University of Warsaw and the Department of Press Systems and Press Law at the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism at the Adam Mickiewicz University.
Prepared by Norwegian counterpart
– We consult our recommendations widely, because we care about different perspectives. We want to properly direct the market by showing real-life examples. Similar content was prepared by our Norwegian counterpart. At the same time, we will not – like the Scandinavians – regulate the issue of, for example, the use of photo retouching in marketing posts – explains Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
– Influencer is a content creator that influences his community. It doesn’t matter if he posts to YouTube, TikTok, Instagram or other platforms. When we go to the store – our goal is clear – to buy various types of products. When we surf the web and watch the lives of our favourite stars, we do not want them to sell us, for example, insoles that increase creativity, which they have not even tested, adds the president of UOKiK.