Upcoming guidelines will make it mandatory for influencers to disclose their qualifications while giving advice on health and wellness matters, Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, the Department of Consumer Affairs told Business Standard. He also said that these qualifications must be displayed in an obvious manner for the audience to see and read. “If you are saying this food is good or bad, that this medicine is good, you must be qualified and disclose that you are qualified to say that. Otherwise, it can be majorly misleading,” he added. Why this matters: The size of social influencer market in India in 2022 was about Rs 1,275 crore, and by 2025, it is likely to rise to Rs 2,800 crore, the Department of Consumer Affairs said. It also said that India has over 1 lakh social media influencers of substance (influencers that have a ‘substantial’ following). Upcoming guidelines could apply to influencers selling or promoting products such as medicines, supplements like whey protein and vitamin pills, food products claiming to provide health benefits, etc. Health and wellness brands often reach out to celebrities and influencers to endorse their products, who do so in return for cash or kind, without having any scientific or medical knowledge about it. Increased transparency burden on influencers could help consumers make more informed decisions. This could also help reduce the spread of misinformation as people would be less likely to take medical advice from someone who does not have adequate qualifications. This was especially problematic during the…
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