News from the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society

The Responsibilities of Influencer Marketing

An Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Responsibilities and Regulation of Influencer Marketing at the University of Maastricht

This January, we were part of an interdisciplinary workshop on the regulation of social media influencers, organized by the Maastricht European Private Law Institute and the University of Groningen. The workshop brought together a number of scholars and regulators from across Europe to discuss the increasing practice of popular individuals on the Internet, influencers, to make a living from their channels or accounts. Several implications were discussed, ranging from emerging new career trajectories, to new forms of person-based endorsement and advertisements, to the legal and ethical challenges of for instance advertising to minors or the non-disclosure of the advertorial nature. We contributed with a talk on whether the notion of being an influencer is a broadly achievable career goal, and highlighted how the free labor of aspirational influencers, invested in the hope of a future pay off, can be exploited to fulfill the platform-goals of data capture, as well as to fulfill the personal ambitions of other, more successful influencers. The results of the workshop will be published as part of an edited volume later this year.