A special task force, made up in particular of the Autorité des marchés financiers and the Paris prosecutor’s office, is currently investigating the actions of several former reality TV stars, now influencers. The alleged facts? Engaging in deceptive marketing practices, including disguised advertising, in financial services such as cryptocurrencies. Nabilla Benattia-Vergara is the first to be sentenced.
In September 2021, the Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority published an edifying study: according to it, 43% of influencers engage in disguised advertising on TikTok and Instagram. Faced with this worrying observation, the French authorities have decided to investigate and crack down.
For the occasion, a brand new unit was created on December 13, 2021. This Task Force is made up in particular of the Paris prosecutor’s office, the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) and the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF). You will understand, the stars of reality TV and other influencers are mainly targeted by these investigations.
As specified by the members of the government agency (the DGCCRF is attached to Bercy), deceptive online business practices in financial services have exploded over the past year, especially among influencers. “Social networks and influencers are the new entry point that has emerged in recent years. In this way, it is a younger audience, from a more modest background than the traditional target of investment scams that is now affected, in particular in the field of trading ”, explains the AMF in the columns of the newspaper The world.
Fight against unfair influencer marketing practices
The repression of fraud accuses these influencers in particular of promote unstable financial products, like some cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, to a young audience with little training on the subject and “unable to anticipate fluctuations ”. For the DGCCRF, the situation is worrying enough to make “the fight against unfair influencer marketing practices, one of its priority areas of control in 2022 ″.
The first influencer pinned down is none other than Nabilla Benattia-Vergara. In 2018, the businesswoman praised the merits of a platform for selling and buying Bitcoins to her subscribers on her Snapchat account. Not to mention, however, that she was paid to do so. She was sentenced in July 2021 to a fine of € 20,000. The Task Force ensures that it is currently investigating other famous influencers, recalling in passing that it has the power to suspend the various accounts of the accused persons.