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There are no laws specifically aimed at protecting consumers against misleading posts made by social media influencers.
However, the Belgian Advertising Council has published guidelines (available in Dutch and French) which will apply in the following circumstances:
- the influencer receives a consideration in kind or in cash from the brand to communicate about the brand, its product or its service. Consideration includes the receipt of a product for free; and
- the brand has significant control over the influencer’s post or blog.
Where the guidelines apply, the influencer is required to ensure that the blog or post is clearly recognisable as a commercial communication by an explicit statement (for example, using appropriate hashtags such as “#promoted” or “#advertising”) making the sure that the language and position of the statement is properly understood by the people to whom the post is targeted.
The post or blog also needs to be fair and not contain anything which is false or misleading.
Children should not be induced to convince their parents or guardians to purchase a product for them.
If the influencer does not adhere to the Belgian Advertising Council’s guidelines, he or she, together with his or her marketing agent and the brand can be held liable. The JEP (which is a self-regulatory body created by the Belgian Advertising Council) can formally request that the infringing communication is changed or removed.
Link to the Belgian Advertising Council guidelines (in French):