it's all about framing
Hopefully this will generate a bit more legal reliability for them. The current legal situation was (and probably still is) somewhat absurd.
My pet peeve are the news snippets in Google Discover or Google News, which then lead to a paywalled article.
From my point of view these snippets are all ads for the newspaper or magazine which is promoting them by giving Google access to index them.
One could argue that they are not actively promoting their articles, that it is Google who is "stealing" the content and publishing it, but then again, they want to be monetized through the "Leistungsschutzrecht" (Ancillary copyright for press publishers), so they are well aware that having their articles indexed is beneficial to them. They might as well add a robots.txt file, which is respected by Google.
They are also formatting their articles in such a way, that the snippets are as attractive as possible, which becomes obvious when you read an article and have the feeling that you're reading 3 times the same content until you get to the real information.
These snippets are clearly ads and Google should have to label them as such, unless the content is free-to-view.
Did those people read any Apple fanboy blogs lately? These people actually pay Apple AND write overboarding positive reviews.
But... I'll note how "little guy" regulation works relative to major players.
You don't see court, legislature decisions, or such upending the business model of a FB, Google or whatnot. Every word will be negotiated, Google and/or FB will have control over implementation. Often, the regulation will be a net positive, given that it can slow small competitors down. The process will take years, the roll out will be gradual....
"Influencers" or really anyone selling content via platforms can have rules slapped onto them by either the state or the platform without notice, lots of potential for revenue disruption...
It's easy to belittle the little, and this article kind does it too: "The court said one fitness influencer should have been clear she was advertising when she was paid to promote a brand of jam."
Meanwhile.. FB, Adwords and such got decades of lead time. Extreme tolerance of various dubious practices as regulation designed to be business friendly at the cost of timeliness & effectiveness was slowly formulated. No parliament demands Fast and Furious post little notices, nor have they over decades.
I’m not going to defend Google or Facebook, but they didn’t add those things because they wanted to. They added them because their platforms would be banned from Europe if they didn’t.
Influencers are actually some of the only advertisers who aren’t well regulated in Europe, and it’s honestly a real issue when they have more reach than national television stations.
In Denmark alone we’ve had issues with influencers advertising plastic surgery or sugar dating to teenagers and below. Things that are extremely illegal through any other medium, but because “influencers” fall outside of traditional law, it’s been very hard to stop them with the legalisation that we have. In fact they have only been stopped by being publicly shamed in other media, causing them so much bad press that nobody wanted to pay them to advertise things.
So it’s actually quite the opposite, but I’ll be the first to agree that the platforms should also be held into account for the things they allow influencers to post. Not a very popular opinion on HN, but as far as I’m concerned Europe would lose nothing by kicking non-EU software companies where it hurts.
Whether the statement i interpreted is true i cannot tell, but it would be interesting to have data points on it.
We are struggling to handle “influencers” because they are a “new” concept in terms of legislation. They fall into a loophole, and dealing with it isn’t “quick” as you suggest, but something that has been slowly grinding into gear over the last decade and will in all likelihood take at least another decade to reach any form of completion.
By contrast the big Corps you say go free have been handled by advertisements legislation that has existed since the dawn of the news paper and which regularly gets updated.
The issue influencers pose the traditional legislation is that they fall into the category of being private individuals voicing their private opinion, which used to get regulated by the media platforms they did it on, but this isn’t true with SoMe because of the other legal loophole these platforms exploit by not being forced into an editorial role for the content they host.
That’s another issue that will also take decades to see decent legislation, but as far as advertisement goes, big Corps are covered while the little guy is not.
When was the last time you saw product placements being clearly labeled in TV shows/movies? For most people, the answer is "never".
Just because we are used to it doesn't mean it's fair. Tom Scott explains it much better than I can: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-x8DYTOv7w
These regulatory environments, including european countries, merge regulator and platform. One controls the literal regulation, while the other controls implementation. Both are heavily involved in each others decision making.
I'm not saying that advertising plastic surgery or sugar dating to teenagers is good, or should not be regulated. Lots of things are troublesome and need courts and legislators to do stuff. I'm just noting what happens the difference depending on who's pocket book it impacts.
No countries, certainly not EU countries, make quick turnaround decisions that could gut a major revenue stream at FB-scale.
"Paid influencing" is <1% of that near trillion dollar market. The real meat is divided between giants like Google and FB. They own the platforms, dictate terms and cut content makers in on a sliver when and if they choose. That is true for music, porno, instagram garden influencing...
The advertising buyer side has a megacorp presence, but it's mostly a lot of everything and there's not much power concentration. Platforms generally want to own the connections. Advertiser-influencer, artist-listener, youtuber-viewer, etc. Sponsorships and paid placement is a workaround. It's what TV, cinema, games and such got away with for decades. Maybe there are transparency rules or somesuch somewhere... but nowhere does regulation upend the business model or get overly handsy. When it's an instagram people instead disney, open season.
I'm not against regulating advertising. I just think picking on the smallest, ugliest kid and then running off is scapegoating.
Because they usually follow the laws, and their context is always obvious. The problem with the "little guy" influencer is the not so obvious mix between personal actions and business.
Sometimes they show you their dog pooping, the next second they tell you how awesome the shit-bags of $COMPANY are. How should the viewer know whether this was now a paid placement, or just the personal opinion of that person. With Google and Facebook you will never seen such things, and when they tell you how awesome their newest Service is, everyone knows the intention behind it. Para-social effects are not the same with an anonymous company.
See the diagram:
I don’t doubt the break-ups are effective in the short term, but the long-term behavior in this case seems to be less affected.
With the attitude that regulation disproportionately effects start-ups or small businesses no regulation would ever end up law, which seems to be the point of this style of comment.
And from my understanding, the poor influencers are the most harmful ones, as they sell even the most awful trash. While the rich ones at least usually have some standards. An exception are the single cases of rich bitches who directly scam their followers with something illegal.
Industrialists will be first to the guillotine(in Minecraft of course).
In the USA, it doesn't seem to be done. I was actually shocked -- and then realized how naive I was -- when i was talking to someone at a party who had a tiktok where she reviewed garden products, to find out that it wasn't just "free product", she was literally getting paid by the companies to give them good reviews, and from the tiktok you wouldn't know she wasn't just reviewing things she had bought on her own independently.
It did seem to me like this was probably a problem for the FTC, but I realized, oh, this is just how it's done now, nobody ever discloses.
Federal law enforcement is a teensy tick on top of an enormous dog which is crime. The FTC is really small compared to its purported bailiwick. It would need more lawyers than the largest law firms in the US to accomplish anything close to its responsibilities, and it would need to duplicate the FBI to act as its enforcement/investigation arm. Most of the jobs at the FTC aren't even lawyer jobs, but are in more analytical roles.
Cynically, for years I've been treating pretty much every single product review I encounter as though it's bought by the manufacturer. Ya know, since the internet is a giant steaming pile of algorithmically generated bullshit (for the most part).
Sting operations seem like a practical way to enforce this rule.
(Not that I consider the rule a good one: in fact, if as others here say, the rule is "WILDLY unenforced" in the US, then I say either start enforcing it more or get rid of it.)
Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but isn't this the problem of enforcement period? How can you tell I didn't just buy this garage full of Playstations and throw away the receipt? How can you tell he was pushed over that cliff, and he didn't just trip? In the case of paid advertisements, at least you've got a paper trail connecting the advertiser and the, ugh, influencer.
Probably by finding the financial records that you received payment from the brand.
Influencers (in joint union with targeted advertisements-- and even more tangentially cross-site/browser/device fingerprinting) has made me extremely embittered and disillusioned to social media in general, going so far as to delete old accounts made while I was younger and even abandoning certain platforms. (early-mid-20's here btw)
Of course, not everyone is caught and punished but if you're big enough to attract the scrutiny of the FTC, they do issue fines for not disclosing ad sponsorship. Example:
I mean, it makes sense, the influencers are small potatos in many cases just hustling to get by.
But... the company probably just takes the risk as a potential cost of doing business (especially when enforcement is so rare; in this case they were fined $1 million which isn't peanuts, but I wonder what % of their profits it was...), and the influencer has no incentive to worry about it at all unless the company paying them tells them to.
Two recent possibilities:
Steve Harvey randomly changing his twitter icon to an nft: https://twitter.com/IAmSteveHarvey
-Seems somewhat likely to me somebody paid him to do this in order to pump the NFT release
Steph Curry tweeting about crypto advice and then the next day announcing he's been hired as a 'brand ambassador' for FTX: https://twitter.com/StephenCurry30/status/143504771695066726...
- Obviously was all set up as a marketing reveal
I really wish they'd actually enforce this one.
The curt ruling wasn't about the curt now newly forcing posts to be labeled but it was about creating a bit more clarity when it needs to be labeled and when not.
AKA Absolutely nothing until your actions affect the wrong entity
I am actually surprised by some US businesses (local newspapers for instance) that make the effort to use GDPR cookies instead of not giving, as you say, a fuck.
I mean Im the same way, but have recently gotten into a new hobby where I was searching a bit to figure out my "first purchase." It was hard to find genuine content/reviews/suggestions. It's easy to stay clear of the affiliate/SEO sites, but it's really hard to parse what is sponsored or not in expert/influencer content.
I'm curious. Is this in any German rulebook? (I secretly want it to be).
(Sorry for the bad joke, but as a German the though that there is a secret rule book which was lost in WW1 had me rolling, I just have no idea why??)
> Is this in any German rulebook?
Idk. but I feel that:
- State organs often act as if it's the case.
- Politicians often do some many (bad/wrong) assumptions hat I feel it would be better if it would be the case.
They don't get a cut from a sponsored video or product placement, and their dominance in the advertising
space means this is also cutting into their ad revenue.
You're painting a rather bleak picture -- that the majority of creators/influencers' content is advertising. If that's the case, I'm not sure why Youtube/Instagram should also tolerate that -- it's basically spam on their platform they haven't curated through their ad network.
Creators are very careful not to overwhelm their audience with ads; their audience (and their portability to new platforms/ channels) is their number one asset since they may need to jump to new platforms in the future as their channels can get demonetized/ banned for frivolous reasons.
Except if they believe you are not advertisement friendly content.
Like any discussion or educational material about any touchy topic gets not ads (and there are a lot of such thinks).
YT accidentally mistaking a think you sayd as a black listed swear word (even if you didn't say it and are not even speaking in the language its from and it just sound similar) => No Ad Money.
Politics => No Ad Money.
Covering Covid related thinks => No Ad Money.
Covering local news including violence => No Ad Money.
I’m not sure why you would presume that. Also, product placement has been a standard feature of entertainment for a long time. I don’t see why you’d expect Google and Facebook to be the ones to take a stand on this, after all this time.
For example, a guy is teaching me to fix a generic, unbranded toilet issue but stops to mention a particular widget or toolbelt he is being paid to use.
Next video he is teaching me to fix a sump pump and there again he mentions his sponsored plumbing gear.
This is fine by me. I learn how to fix things and some plumbing widget company pays the bill.
Spam is something the recipient doesn't want. What is or isn't spam is subjectively determined by each individual recipient. If spam were strictly determined by what nobody wants, requiring complete consensus, then nothing would be spam because in a world of 7 billion people there will always be one nut who welcomes the unrequested solicitation.
Advertising embedded in the content as sponsor callouts and similar (often paying way better then YT ad sense), this includes showcases of sponsored content and similar.
Which if it's properly labeled is not a problem.
But as far as I know many big YT channels can NOT live from YT ad sense/network money. Some won't even get any at all due to YouTubes (IMHO overreaching) classification of content into advertisement friendly or not.
TikTok has a fund to pay people to make content to get them up off the ground.
Insta, despite it's growth, has a decay problem in that it's out of the zeitgeist of the key demos. it's growing in developing markets and maybe might have some incidental sign ups, but people are not flocking to it.
And TikTok - depsite it's popularity, has a very 'fad' feel to it. While FB has a bit of the 'e-mail' incumbency in that it's how people communicate with family and user groups, TikTok is a bit more fleeting.
These platforms would get hurt badly without a lot of those middle and upper tier content makers.
The current situation is a rational entente actually: Insta makes ads, influencers can make a buck however. The more popular YouTubers will monetize with ads anyhow.
The fact that you call them "Youtubers", identifying them using the trademark of one particular platform rather than a generic descriptor like "video content creator", suggests that there is not quite as much healthy competition as you claim. Most video companies other than youtube only compete with youtube in a narrow sense; a great deal of the content on youtube does not fit on tiktok's platform, which is only good for short-form content. Netflix only hosts movies or TV shows. Twitch is for livestreaming; other kinds of content don't fit into the paradigm of twitch. Vimeo has never been a good place for off-the-cuff home movies, they too try to compete with youtube only in a narrow domain, not across the board. The few generalist video hosting companies other than youtube are all jokes that are faaar behind youtube in viewer counts.
If the platforms wanted to come after the money, they could. I suspect they're still in the growing phase. But I imagine in the near future, they'll start demanding all ads go through their platforms.
For example say I follow a lot of architecture / interior design / construction accounts. A company that pays a construction influencer is going to waste their money on my impression — I’m never going to buy professional-grade construction equipment.
On the other side Instagram or whomever already knows I’m a white collar worker and just sends me ads for ring lights and laptop stands.
So influencers and platforms are essentially going after different sets of ad dollars.
The ‘skip advert’ button… should it skip the YouTube inserted sponsored content, or move to the end of the video entirely?
The second they ban it all the creators that can afford to will jump ship. YouTube knows the creators that can afford to jump ship are also the ones keeping their lights on
I have no idea the legal situation but I'd also imagine there'd be a safe harbour challenge in there somewhere too
Jump to where though? No other video platform is even close to the number of visitors.
We really need a credible YT alternative :(
Depends on their access to tech knowledge whether they go distributed (peertube) or find another YouTube. Wherever they go would become the new YouTube over time
Oddly enough it seems all content creators quickly attract a tech person that they later rely on and make their first hire when successful. I doubt it'd be the issue, depends what exists at the time
Maybe if you are on of the 0.1% creaters but then you would miss out on a lot of smaller channels.
Sure you have things like Patreon but its not that easy to get people to pay for your stuff.
So in the end you will take sponsorship deals because you either do that or do something else.
Sponsorships on Youtube exploded when ad revenue cratered.
Cut sponsorships away and you're basically killing the ecosystem.
As far as YT is concerned, their ads pay for the hosting and delivery of the content, but it's the creators who actually create the content and they can include whatever they want (as long as its legal, etc) with their audience deciding if they want to deal with it or not.
That's my guess.
I also suspect it's againist anti-trust to force yourself into that value chain and to prevent others from marketing.
When viewers see Youtube ads, they'll be annoyed with Youtube. But when viewers see sponsored content, they'd be annoyed with the content creator. So Youtube won't get the extra flak.
(Note that the video is ~30 minutes long. It's unfortunately that complicated, even when only talking rules mainly in two countries.)
That's a quote from near the beginning of his video.
Tom Scott is supportive of declaring paid endorsements, he just thinks it should be declared everywhere by everyone, not just influencers. He gives some good examples of some TV/film that do declare it with a sort of watermark.
The same is true for "native content" which tries to blend into the site with design and format, but is still clearly labeled as being "sponsored by BP" or whatever.
Journalists at quality publications aren't allowed to accept anything of actual value. So books for reviews are ok, but you aren't going to keep that Mercedes. For car reviews specifically, I remember seeing notes on them explaining that the publication paid travel expenses or that they accepted the invite to some luxurious event.
It's really only the entertainment sector, especially US movies and series, that does product placement.
Ads on TV are literally placed in news (local and national) broadcasts with no indication that they were paid for. Every morning show has a segment where they shill products, periodic "gift guides," and people being interviewed who are headlining or keynoting local trade conventions and festivals. I don't think that there is legislation of any sort governing print ads; they're labeled to distinguish them editorially from the rest of the magazine or paper for the magazine or paper's sake whenever they're labeled. If they're disguised as a story, I've never seen them labeled at all.
On the internet paid stories get labeled a lot more often these days, but the push that made that happen is part of the same push that made influencer labeling happen, because the internet, being new, is the center of a lot of moral panics.
That's pretty country specific. I'd almost assume that Germany prohibits that, I know Denmark does. You CANNOT insert ads in any way into a program. Ads must specifically ONLY reside in ad blocks, between programs.
Which is why many of Denmark commercial TV stations aren't technically Danish, but they also don't produce news shows.
They have also set up a website where they say what a influencer should https://www.forbrugerombudsmanden.dk/hvad-gaelder/markedsfoe...
We live in an era where governments are diluting the value of their legal frameworks through selective enforcement (SEC, anyone?). I don’t get too excited anymore when I see these sorts of “protections” passed.
It would be sad if we have to go down that road. There's a guy who maintain a website about old local railroad in my area (and you are NOT allowed to share his content on Facebook), no one is paying him anything. Should he then be forced to label his content as: "Not sponsored", if he don't want readers to assume that he's sponsored by someone?
I'd say you where closer if you had suggested just labeling Instagram as an ad platform. Anyone with more than X number of follows, assume that their posts are sponsored.
I have traded content for product ($100-30k travel experiences usually). One thing that makes this ad scenario awkward is that the business would ordinarily pay an agency to create the content. An influencer has replaced that. They are doing work and then showing it off, and often it’s being used by the business going forward.
On another note, that is like the shortest news article ever! It's literally just 102 words!
But some people are interested in these type of topics, especially when compared to (for example) America's lax policies (but it can't beat America's very lax policies on sponsorships in television and movies).
In this end the ruling just clarifies some legal details about when and when not you need to label it in certain cases where the respective law(s) "standalone" was clear enough.
The ruling also seems to be in general in favor of influencers, making it clear that in certain situations they don't have to label content as ads.
For example a gaming pc brand give a fully built top-of-the-line in exchange for publicity.
Would a video by that person on the brand be labeled an ad or not?
I’m not sure who’s being scammed more, the video viewer or the video maker.
You are looking at a tool review channel. Most of the tools are items that the creator had in his shed.
Suddenly, one of the screwdrivers he reviews doesn't look as useful as the others and is clearly pristine. It is clearly an advertisement. The product is new because it was donated by a brand and the review is better than usual because of that.
Except that this is not the case.
The screwdriver was recently given to him for Christmas by their wife and the creator is emotionally attached to it, explaining why they review it more positively than previous items on the channel.
Meanwhile, he was wearing a new belt. The belt was donated by a clothing company in exchange for positive exposure. It is identical to his other belts with the brand name visible on the buckle, except that it has a magnet on the side to attach screws. No mention is made of the belt other than the fact it is used in the video.
The ads are not as easy to detect as one might think.
It's a very weird world out there.
But hey I turned out okay! (Not really)
I like "shill"
In this sense it's not a euphemism, it's just a different thing altogether.
shills by intent
Laws requiring media production companies to keep these records seem implausible in America, but at least conceivable in some of countries.
If everything would have the warning label (like "Don't try this at home" or California's "known to cause cancer" signs or arguably GMO food labels) then people ignore it.
It'd be better to know how different what's shown is from the median result, but that'd be hard to figure out, and if you could, why not just require the ads show that result instead?
Phones do a lot of magic already.