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S. Korea to ban 'backdoor online advertising' on social media

All News 10:29 August 31, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's antitrust regulator said Monday that it will ban social media influencers from promoting a new product or service on their online platforms without disclosing their business ties with corporate sponsors.

The Fair Trade Commission said its revised advertising guidelines will require influencers on social media platforms, such as YouTube or Instagram, to state clearly whether their product endorsements are "financially rewarded or intended for promotion."

The move -- which will take effect on Tuesday -- came after some famous social media influencers were criticized for their involvement in the shady promotional practice called "backdoor online advertising."

Vague expressions like "thanks to" or "reviewer group" will be prohibited on their videos as well.

Violators -- both influencers and corporate sponsors -- will be slapped with a fine of up to 2 percent of related sales and revenue or 500 million won (US$422,000).

The new guidelines will also be applied to online content made before the new guidelines, meaning that social media influencers must revise their previous online content to comply with the new guidelines, the commission said.

Some social media influencers have drawn flak for their backdoor advertising. A popular mukbang influencer with 4.7 million viewers recently apologized for being involved in the unfair advertising practice.

In addition, a renowned YouTuber with an audience of 2.68 million announced her retirement from mukbang, a portmanteau in Korean of "eating" and "broadcast."

Last year, the commission clamped down on companies' backdoor advertising through influencer reviews for the first time.

S. Korea to ban 'backdoor online advertising' on social media - 1


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