In Turkey social media advertising is mainly regulated under Consumer Protection Law and the Advertising Regulation. In 2021, the Advertisement Board drafted the Guideline on Commercial Advertisement and Unfair Commercial Practices Conducted by Social Media Influencers” (“Guideline”). It was prepared based on the Consumer Protection Law to serve as a basis for examinations of commercial advertisements and unfair commercial practices run by Social Media Influencers.
The Board continued Its strict surveillance of social media advertisements in 2022. As per the Guideline, social media influencers have started to include hashtags such as #Advertisement, #Sponsor, and #Collaboration in their posts intending to indicate that the relevant post is an advertisement. The Board strictly monitored the market and thoroughly implemented the rules set under the Guideline. For instance, in its decision of November 2022, the Board detected that an influencer directed its followers to social media accounts of various brands by tagging their accounts in its own post without any proper disclosure. The Board deemed the posts were hidden advertising and ordered that the influencer cease the referred posts.
The Board rendered many decisions in 2022 regarding the posts shared in the account of a social media influencer detecting that although required statements like “partnership”, and “collaboration” were included in promotional posts, those were not positioned in a legible way and were not presented in a manner to enable consumers to notice them at first sight taking into account interfaces and technique features of the medium where the post is shared. The Board concluded that these posts constitute hidden advertisements, ordering the cessation of the mentioned advertisement and implemented monetary sanctions.
We anticipate that the Board will continue scrutinizing social media advertisements strictly in 2023 considering the high number and frequency of advertisements made by social media influencers.