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GVH Guidelines on displaying online contents

  • Hungary

    13-12-2017

    GVH Guidelines on displaying online contents



    The Hungarian Competition Authority (hereinafter referred to as: GVH), on 20 November 2017, published important guidelines on displaying such contents in social media that are based on paid agreements with well-known people, i.e. influencers. The aim of such guidelines is to promote the development of appropriate market practice.

    Online contents published by influencers


    Recently, it has become a common practice to promote products, services, brands and images (blog and vlog posts; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube posts and videos etc.) through agreements with “opinion leader” people. Under such agreements, the opinion leaders promote the products and services on their private social media page for some kind of remuneration. Of course, this practice is not illegal in itself, if it is evident for the customers (followers) that there is an economical interest behind the given content. These communications are advertisements, and this fact shall be indicated clearly for the customers.

    Misleading of customers


    Information published by opinion leaders may remarkably influence the transactional decisions of customers, therefore, it is very important to make it in a fair way. In case the costumer is not provided with enough information about the economical nature of the published content and does not know that the content is not necessarily based on the influencer’s private opinion or experience, then the communication is misleading, and it is considered as unfair commercial practice, which may lead to initiation of procedure by GVH.

    Who would be responsible for the publishing?


    GVH highlights that, in certain cases, not only the person who publishes the content would be responsible for the publication, but also the company, which has an interest in the promotion of the product or service.

    Expectations regarding the display


    The most important obligation relating to displaying of content is that the influencer has to indicate conspicuously, clearly and in a commonly understandable way that the published content has been paid for, the person displaying the content has received some kind of compensation. Compensation shall not mean only paying money, but also providing any kind of discount, use of motor vehicles, etc., or any kind of services without payment obligation.

    GVH’s guidelines give a detailed description about the problems that may arise in connection with these contents and how they may be displayed lawfully. Because this type of advertising is becoming more and more common, and more and more hidden adverts keep showing up in social media, it is expectable that, after publishing the guidelines, the GVH will put stronger emphasis on the correction of the market practice and the increase of costumer awareness.

    Prevention


    Therefore, it would be practical, if companies advertising this way, would pay special attention to working out contract conditions, briefings and guidelines ensuring that their contracting partners are aware of the conditions of making legally correct contents and act in a proper way.

    In addition, it would be useful for these companies to introduce controlling mechanisms, through which they can monitor the published contents.

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    Disclaimer

    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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