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The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had released Guidelines for Influencer Advertising on digital media in May 2021. The guideline, which aims to bring transparency for the end consumer in the influencer marketing space, was finally implemented on June 14, 2021.

After the guidelines were released, the body ASCI started suo motu screening of social media platforms, as well as handling the end-consumer complaints. They have now released a report highlighting the posts that violated the said guidelines. The report studies the monitoring efforts of these guidelines from July-December 2021. 

According to the findings of the report, 5,000 posts were screened out of which 719 posts were considered to be prima facie in violation of the guidelines. Out of the 21% of complaints that came in from the consumer’s end, most were from Instagram feeds and stories. The rest were picked up suo motu through AI-based surveillance.

Most of the violations were found in the fashion and lifestyle category (29%), followed by beauty (19%), food and beverage (13%), and personal care brands. Categories like gaming, baby care, education, and automotive recorded the least number of violations. 

Some brands mentioned in the report for violating the guidelines are Aveda, Colorbar, Kama Ayurveda, Malabar Gold and Diamonds, Manyavar Creations, Myntra, Nykaa, Realme Mobile, Vivo, etc. 

The ASCI guidelines for Influencer marketing focus on making branded content distinguished from user-generated content on social media. It asks the creators and influencers to put noticeable disclosures like #collaboration #ad #brandedcontent in their posts. However, the absence and the incorrect placement of these disclosures were some of the key violations noticed. 

On a positive note, 80% of the influencers who came under the scanner for violations chose to voluntarily amend/withdraw their posts. Out of the remaining 142 complaints, 121 were upheld by ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council and influencers were asked to withdraw or modify their posts.