News today that ‘finfluencers’ — influencers spruiking financial advice — face gaol and/or fines if they continue to do so unlicensed has brightened my day, and not just because I’m among the majority of people who are fed up with these clowns.
A survey of 60,000 Australians found that 65% felt misinformation was ‘very much a problem’ for Australians, especially for Millenials and Gen Z’ers looking for quick riches. Many are not on #FinTok to hear what Queenie Tan thinks about crypto, per se, but rather how a 24yo made $347,000 from her living room.
So to avoid the tsunami of potentially dodgy advice, why not impose these restrictions on ALL influencers?
You need a Certificate III in Fitness to safely run a gym class, after all. Yet a whole generation of fitspo advocates just lube up every day and strike a pose. A year later, you’ve herniated a disc following Tammy Hembrow’s booty workout.
Who’s paying for that? Nobody, because caveat emptor is the law of this jungle.
Likewise, you need a Bachelor of Health Science to call yourself a nutritionist, yet any thinspo practitioner can milk your self-hatred for profit, pushing an ever-changing menu of miracle diets to keep you guessing and develop a profitable (for them) state of orthorexia.
So why do they still exist?
The YouTuber who monetised their side-hustle and now makes six-figures is the dream of millions. And why not? Beats working for somebody else! And it comes virtually without risk. Caught out for failure to disclose a commercial arrangement? A scammer, hypocrite or just downright dangerous?
Catch me if you can, says Paleo Pete!
Just in the #ad world alone, the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) tried to re-cork the genie in 2017, but demonstrably failed. Only 7.9% of content creators have complied with the rules, yet at least 30% use undisclosed sponsored content, and only two have been outed.
And the punishment for breaching Australian Comsumer Law — potentially $220,000 per post? Nothing. Anna Heinrich (right) hasn’t even taken down the offending post. I wonder how much @runawaythelabel earned her?
In 2019, the Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AIMCO) joined the fray to develop a code of practice. Another toothless tiger without regulatory power, AIMCO is even less likely than the AANA to regulate the industry.
While formal regulation of finfluencers is a good step, it’s not nearly enough. Regulate them all, or burn them with fire.