Social media promoting products for a fee must label content as advertising, Germany’s Supreme Court has ruled. Those who are not paid and are not too blunt in their praise can do without such labels.
Germany’s federal court on Thursday reached the landmark verdict on social media advertising. The decision, which was portrayed in some German media as a gain for well-known celebrities on social media and other influencers, content creators allow them to give up advertising labels, even if they tag companies in their posts, as long as these are not “Excessively promotional” or made on a quid-pro-quo basis.
“The mere fact that images on which the product is depicted are affixed with t-tags is not sufficient to assume advertising surplus,” the court saidnotes, however, that if a post directly links to a product manufacturer’s site, the content should still be labeled as advertising.
The Supreme Court’s ruling comes from three cases against Instagram influencers that were previously heard by lower German courts. The court agrees in principle with the rulings in cases against the bloggers, brought by the Berlin-based Association of Social Competition (VSW).
Two of the cases flopped and were dismissed after it was established that bloggers targeted by VSW had not received anything of significant value from the companies they promoted. However, the third blogger, fitness Instagrammer Luisa-Maxime Huss, was found in violation of the competition rules when it was revealed that she had been paid to promote raspberry jam on her feed on social media.
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