Soon the amalgam of health influencers, who give tips on various social media platforms about consuming a particular nutrient or supplement, will have to prove their qualifications and eligibility, to ensure that they are not indulging in surrogate advertising or pedalling half-baked information to their followers.
The department of consumer affairs is in the process of preparing guidelines for social media influencers, especially in the field of health and finance, to ensure that they are not pedalling half-baked or misleading information.
Under these guidelines, which will be in place by next month, such influencers will have to put out disclaimers on their platforms, making it clear whether they are actual nutritionists or are just promoting a product.
A fine of Rs 10 lakh would be imposed on those violating these guidelines, sources informed.
Health and wellness influencers are often seen offering advice on using specific supplements, ministry officials said, adding that the government only wants to ensure whether they are just endorsing a product and selling a product in the name of nutrients, or are genuine specialists in the field.
They said that consumers are misled by the information these influencers provide on their platforms, leading to them buying products which may affect their health.
Under these guidelines, such influencers would have to establish their qualification as an expert, if they are asking their subscribers to use a particular nutrient or supplement, official sources said.
Disclaimers will have to be put out by such influencers to establish their connection with that particular product, and also to make it clear as in what capacity they are pedalling information to subscribers.
The idea behind these guidelines is to ensure that such influencers don’t indulge in manipulation.
Even finance sector influencers or “finfluencers” who provide information to their followers on various financial products, advising them to invest in particular schemes or financial instruments, will fall within the ambit of these guidelines.
They too will have to put out their credentials, making it clear whether they are qualified financial advisers or just promoting a particular scheme or financial product in the garb of investment advisers, thus duping investors in the process.