Influencers active on social media platforms such as Youtube, Instagram and TikTok were merely bound by the Dutch Advertising Code Social Media & Influencer Marketing until recently. As of 1 July 2022 they are also obliged to comply with the Dutch Media Act. As a consequence, they also fall under the supervision of the Dutch Media Authority ("DMA") and have the obligation to register with the DMA.

These obligations arise from the new policy rule "classification of commercial media services on demand" of the DMA, which was published on 1 July 2022. With this policy rule, the DMA gives substance to the Dutch Media Act amended in 2020 and ensures that influencers are also regarded as an on-demand commercial media service. The obligations do not apply to all influencers; with this policy rule, with the DMA focusing on influencers with a larger following who place their content on specific platforms. In concrete terms, in order to fall under the supervision of the DMA, the criteria are as follows:

  • The influencer must be active on Youtube, Instagram and/or TikTok;
  • The influencer must have 500,000 or more followers/subscribers on at least one of these platforms;
  • The influencer must have posted at least 24 videos with his/her account with 500,000 or more followers in the past 12 months;
  • The influencer benefits from his/her account with 500,000 or more followers to a company registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

When all these criteria are met, the influencer falls under the supervision of the DMA and is obliged to report the media service to the DMA. This means that the influencer is obliged to join the Dutch Advertising Code Authority (in Dutch: Stichting Reclame Code or SCR) as well as to register with NICAM (Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audio-visual Media).

Being under supervision of the DMA also means that an influencer must comply with the Dutch Media Act. This has the following implications:

  • The influencer must be clear about advertising. Surreptitious advertising and advertising of medical acts is prohibited and subliminal advertising techniques should not be used;
  • Sponsorship of videos must be recognizable. At the beginning and end of a video it must be clearly stated that the video has been sponsored and by whom. Specific promotions that encourage the purchase or rental of products or services from sponsors are prohibited. Sponsorship of videos consisting of news, current affairs or political information is prohibited;
  • Product placement must be recognizable. The product must not receive excessive attention in the video and it must be made clear at the beginning and end of the video that product placement is taking place. Specific promotions that encourage the purchase or rental of products or the purchase of services are prohibited. Product placement is prohibited in videos consisting of news and current affairs programs, consumer affairs programs, programs of a religious or spiritual nature and programs intended specifically for minors under 12 years of age;
  • Minors must be protected from harmful content and the influencer must comply with the rules set by NICAM; The influencer must clearly state who he/she is and contact details must be provided. The influencer must also indicate that he/she is under the supervision of the DMA;
  • Finally, the influencer is also obliged to keep his/her videos for a period of two weeks after the video can no longer be viewed online.

With this legislative change and the new policy rules, influencers are bound by a set of rules with which the DMA aims to provide more clarity to viewers of online videos and protect them from harmful content.

Take away for brand owners

Although these set of rules apply to influencers, it is important in the context of a potential collaboration with influencers, to carefully check whether they comply with current legislation. As a brand owner, to prevent your brand image from being harmed, we suggest to partner up with influencers who comply with the Dutch Media Act.