Italy to regulate social media influencers after Christmas cake scandal

AFP/The Local
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Italy to regulate social media influencers after Christmas cake scandal
Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni. Online stars will now be subject to tighter advertising regulation, Italy's watchdog has warned. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Italy's media watchdog announced new rules on advertising by online stars after leading blogger Chiara Ferragni became embroiled in 'pandorogate'.


Italy will expand regulation of social media influencers by placing their activities under the same authority that oversees television and other audio-visual media.

The decision by Italy's communications authority AGCOM follows a growing scandal involving Chiara Ferragni, a leading Italian fashion blogger.

AGCOM said its oversight will apply to influencers with more than a million followers on social media, with at least 2 percent of them interacting with the content.

An audio-visual media law adopted in December 2021 calls for fines of up to 600,000 euros for violating data protection laws, especially for minors.

AGCOM said in a statement that its measures will concern "commercial communication, and the protection of fundamental rights of people, minors and sporting values."

In the case of product placement, "influencers are required to insert a warning about the advertising nature of the content," the statement said.

Chiara Ferragni, one half of Italy's most famous influencer couple along with rapper husband Fedez, is under investigation for aggravated fraud for her November 2022 'Pink Christmas' advertising campaign with confectionary company Balocco.

Ferragni, who has almost 30 million followers on Instagram, appeared to suggest that part of the sales would be donated for child cancer treatments at the Regina Margherita hospital in Turin.


Italian competition authorities discovered last month that companies held by Ferragni made more than a million euros in profit from sales of the Balocco brand pandoro but gave just 50,000 euros to the hospital.

AGCOM said a group of experts would develop a "code of conduct defining the measures that influencers must respect" to bring more transparency in the sector.


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