Several content creators and influencers have come out in support of the proposed guidelines prepared by the Central government, which when released will make it mandatory for the influencers to reveal brand endorsements and paid content before featuring any brand integration. Most content creators believe that the guidelines will help ensure transparency in sponsorships and make sure that the influencers promote products responsibly, especially on large platforms.
Dolon Dutta Chowdhury, who runs the beauty and lifestyle handle poutpretty on Instagram, says that posts by influencers are already subject to scrutiny from the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and Instagram itself. “I have got a few emails from the ASCI asking if a certain post by me is paid for or done by myself. The work has already started. People should know that whatever you put out has been paid for. Also, the audience is not that stupid. Just because it is a paid association doesn’t mean the product is bad. It depends on the credibility that an influencer has. [The guidelines] will probably affect those who do paid collaborations only and have nothing else to showcase.” says Chowdhury.
Actor and digital content creator Alekhya Harika (@alekhyaharika_) echoes Chowdhury’s views and adds that people are already aware if a post is a paid collaboration or not. She adds that most celebrities and influencers do not blindly promote a product and check if it is actually good. “These guidelines will curb scams. They will bring more transparency. I have done a few collaborations and seven out of 10 brands ask us to mention that they are paid collaborations. It is the brand’s call if they want us to mention this or not. It’s never the influencer’s call. The mention also doesn’t really affect its reach,” says Harika.
According to Nikhil Vijayendra Simha (@nikhiluuuuuuuuu), who is also a celebrity talk-show host and content creator, the guidelines are a good step in bringing clarity to the users and recognising social media influencers as legitimate professionals. Simha says, “As long as the government doesn’t make our remuneration public, it should be a fair deal. Also, these guidelines will elucidate the fact that social media influencers are getting paid for their collaborations. For someone who is a student and posts content on social media, this will serve as a reminder that yes, one can earn money through content.”
Actor and comedian Aanchal Aggarwal (@awwwnchal) says that these guidelines are necessary due to the growing popularity of content creators. She says, “These guidelines are creator-friendly as well and consumer-friendly,”
Content creator Priyal Mittal (@priyalmittall) adds that she mentions that a post is part of a paid partnership even if the brand doesn’t ask for it, putting a hashtag like ‘#notasponsoredpost’. However, she feels that the guidelines given by some brands for these posts can be too stifling and should give full creative freedom to the content creators they approach. “They ask for the lighting to be good or the background to be plain, but then if they’re not satisfied with the final post, they will keep asking for reshoots,” she says. “They would pay us Rs 5000 for a post but their guidelines wouldn’t specify that we would have to go on shooting and editing the posts till they approve. What the brand feels is right may not go with my content’s aesthetic. One brand even told me I smiled too much, and my expression should be more serious or sad. Brands say ‘We give full creative freedom to content creators’, but I think that’s not entirely true,” she adds.