On Feb. 22, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) released draft guidelines stating that the onus is on influencers and brands to add prominent disclosure labels to all sponsored content.
The ASCI has been working on rules for social media influencers promoting brands since 2019. The latest draft is open to feedback until March 8 and the final guidelines will be issued by March 31. By April 15, the guidelines will be applicable to all promotional posts.
“Consumers may view promotional messages without realising the commercial intent of these, and that becomes inherently misleading,” the authority said in its latest draft, adding that it’s critical that consumers “be able to distinguish when something is being promoted with an intention to influence their opinion or behaviour for an immediate or eventual commercial gain.”
To make sure the labels are universally understood, ASCI has allowed only five hashtags to mark paid content: #ad, #collab, #promo, #sponsored, and #partnership.https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/PXV7Y/1/
Additional rules state filters should not be applied to social media advertisements if they exaggerate the effect of the claim that the brand is making such as “makes hair shinier” or “makes teeth whiter.” And the burden falls on the influencer to do their due diligence about any technical or performance claims–like “2X better” or “fastest speed”—made by brands.