In recent years, with the rapid spread of the use of social media, advertising activities have started to be carriedout through social media platforms such as "Instagram", "Facebook", "YouTube". These advertisements can bepublished directly from the official accounts of the relevant brands, or they can be published from the accounts ofsocial media influencers ("Influencer") in cooperation with. As a result of this, it is observed that criminal sanction isapplied to influencers and advertisers who cooperate with influencers in the decisions of the Board ofAdvertisement (“Board”).

Below are sample decisions about advertisements made through influencers and which were ruled toadministrative fines or suspension of advertisements by the Board.

1. Decision No. 2021/1327;Video published on Influencer's YouTube account

A video comparing pasta prices and flavors was published on the YouTube account of an influencer with 9.45million followers as of 14.12.2021, in order to influence and direct the followers.

It has been evaluated by the Board that it is a surreptitious advertisement on the grounds of that there is no advertising reference in the video named "2TLMakarnavs.2000TLMakarna", there are outside view of the placesvisited, map information, menu visuals, praising statements about the kinds of pasta being tasted, and the nameof the places and social media accounts of the consumers were included in the explanation part of the videodirected to the said places. Therefore, it has been determined that this video is in violation of the ConsumerProtectionLawnumbered6502andtheRegulationonCommercialAdvertisingandUnfairCommercialPractices.Asaresultoftheevaluations,itwasdecidedtoimposeapenaltyontheinfluencerforsuspension of the advertisement.

2. Decision No. 2021/4639;Promotions on Influencer's Instagram account

An influencer shared a post on the Instagram social media account that the child who did not want to use themedicine given by the doctor, who said that it would pass in 10-15 days, was used for the child whose cough didnot go away, and that child's cough stopped on the 4th or 5th day by using the company's 5 mixture.

As a result of the examinations made by the Board, it has been evaluated that the accuracy of the statementsmade in the advertisement cannot be considered scientifically proven, so they do not reflect the truth andtherefore the consumer has been deceived and misled by these statements whose accuracy has not beenscientifically proven for reasons such as the fact that encouraging and recommending the use of a mixture of thecompany instead of a drug and/or medicinal human product given to prevent a disease diagnosed by a medicaldoctor is disruptive to public health, on the other hand, is the statement in the sharing that "...thecoughhasstopped..." there is a healthclaim, the product in question, which is food, is introduced as if it is a medicine or ahuman medicinal product and the use of such health claims is strictly prohibited according to the provisions of thecurrent legislation without a permission from the relevant administrative authority to make any health claimregarding a product. However, the permission has not obtained for the statement sused in this advertisement. As a result of thee valuations, it was decided to imposea penalty on the firm for suspension of the advertisement and administrative fine for TRY114.326,00(approx.EUR7.100).

3. Decision No. 2021/2411;Promotions in the Instagram account of Influencer

In the posts made by a famous actress on her Instagram social media account, the products of various brands were promoted, and the names of the brands and the tags of their social media accounts were included in the posts.

It has been evaluated by the Board that it is a surreptitious advertisement on the grounds of that there is no advertising reference in the posts in where the products of the brands in question are promoted through the promotions. It is stated that the brands are implicitly advertised by directing the followers of the individual to the subject brands without any advertising referencing phrases. Therefore, it has been determined that this video is in violation of the Consumer Protection Law numbered 6502 and the Regulation on Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices. As a result of the evaluations, it was decided to impose a penalty on the actress for suspension for the advertisement.

In the light of abovementioned decisions, the Board is attempt to impose administrative fines and suspensions of the advertisement that are in violation of the surreptitious advertising ban, deceive consumers and/or do not obtain necessary permissions for advertisements made through social media platforms. It is seen that these penalties can be applied directly to influencers as well as to the advertiser of the advertised product.

You may access the decisions by this link and contact us for further queries.