The Indian government is set to make the disclosure of qualifications a must for social media influencers endorsing health and wellness-related products and practices. This must be done in an obvious manner so that audiences don’t miss them.
“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,” Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary to the Indian government’s department of consumer affairs, has told Business Standard in an interview.
The move follows the guidelines issued by the consumer affairs department for social media influencers and celebrities involved in such endorsements.
Many Indians have reported being duped by such endorsements, especially in matters related to finance, events, and cryptocurrencies.
Popular Indian influencers are not qualified
India’s social media influencer market stood at $155.6 million in 2022, Business Standard reported.
A considerable segment of this is of those giving out health and wellness advice. Increased health-consciousness after the covid-19 pandemic has catalyzed the market for instant advice on health, wellness, and fitness on social media.
Celebrities such as Mrunal Thakur, Rashmi Desai, and Ayush Mehra have fairly high engagement rates on Instagram in this context but are not necessarily qualified for such endorsements.
“It is directly related to people’s health,” Singh said. “First you try to educate them. These are mostly young people and it is a question of revenues for them. We do not want to interfere with the model. What we are wary of is the consumer being taken for a ride.”