The Council has of the EU has made some recommendations about how to support influencers as online content creators in the EU.

The Council says that influencers' impact is often positive, thanks to the diversity of online communities and the sense of belonging that they generate.  However, it also emphasises that there can be harms both to individuals’ mental health and at a societal level (eg affecting democracy).

It highlights that while influencers already make use of their technical and creative skills to produce and edit content, they also need media literacy skills to understand the potential negative effects of sharing mis- and disinformation, online hate speech, cyberbullying and other illegal or harmful content.

In particular, the Council highlights the rise of ‘kidfluencers’ – ie, influencers who are under the age of eighteen – and the need for parents, guardians and caregivers to protect kidfluencers and ensure that they are aware of their relevant legal obligations.  A parliamentary select committee has also made recommendations to protect child influencers in the UK.

With this in mind, the Council:

  • encourages member states to engage with influencers and their emerging representative organisations to ensure that they are aware of their role in the media ecosystem and the legislation that applies to them;
  • invites the Commission to explore ways to support influencers at EU level, including via a coherent policy approach focusing on media literacy and responsible online behaviour, as well as making use of existing EU funds and programmes on media education;
  • calls on both the Commission and member states to develop policies and instruments to foster responsible behaviour on the part of influencers and to support the development of self-regulatory bodies or mechanisms, including a possible ethical code or similar initiatives for influencers; and
  • calls on member states and the Commission to ensure that influencers are involved in the development of those aspects of media policy that may affect them, including the increased use of AI

It is refreshing to see the Council engaging with influencers in a positive way, and we look forward to seeing a similar cooperative approach by UK regulators.