Influencers are Responsible for 92% of Crypto Ad Violations in India, Report Finds

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Influencers, rather than celebrities, were behind more than 92% of crypto-related ad breaches in India between January 2022 and May 2022, according to data released by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a voluntary self-regulatory organization of the advertising industry.

“We have taken a total of 453 ad claims related to virtual digital assets so far (January 2022 to May 2022). Of those, 447 relate to influencers. Of the total 453 ads we examined, 419 required modifications, which influencers were duly informed,” said Manisha Kapoor, executive director of the advertising council, in an email to CoinDesk.

In India, blockbuster movie stars and international cricketers are considered celebrities, while those who stream on YouTube channels or reach a sizeable following through Instagram are considered influencers.

ASCI said that “most of the influencer ads were a combination of non-compliance with the ASCI influencer guidelines and cryptography guidelines in advertising.” Some of the ads are still being changed to comply with the law, but the overall compliance rate right now is 77%.

Recently, some of India’s biggest movie stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh and Salman Khan have partnered with cryptocurrency exchanges through promotions or advertisements during India’s most watched events such as the Indian Premier League, the fast-paced cricket tournament that grabs the attention of most of the country for a few weeks every year.

Last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a government meeting on crypto in which a consensus was reached to stop “attempts to mislead young people through overly promising and non-transparent advertising,” according to a report.

ASCI had previously said that it was not discussing changing its guidelines on crypto announcements but rather clarifying its position, as a major stakeholder, on a suggested ban on Indian celebrities endorsing crypto products by the Indian markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India. (SEBI). ).

In February, the ASCI published its guidelines for advertisements related to cryptocurrencies or virtual digital assets that came into force in April. However, ASCI’s guidelines for influencers came into effect earlier, in June of last year.

“When we review influencer ads that violate the ASCI code and don’t carry the required disclaimer or paid association tag or violate the ASCI code, we approach the influencer and tell them about the violation. Please post this, they need to amend your ad and carry the appropriate disclaimer,” Kapoor said in his email.

ASCI does not have the authority to ban celebrities or influencers from appearing in advertisements, but its guidelines are considered the blueprint for protecting consumer interests.

In cases where brands or influencers fail to amend or remove ads deemed objectionable, ASCI takes the case to government regulators.

Also, in case of non-compliance, the standards body publishes the names of those who have not followed the guidelines.

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