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Online “Kid Influencer”

Interlegal

Interlegal Permanent Officer

13.01.21


To fill a legal vacuum in videos featuring children who are successful on social networks, the French legislator has adopted an Act to protect the rights of children.

This law responds to numerous issues related to media coverage and monetization of children on online platforms.

AN ACTIVITY SPECIFIC TO DIGITAL ERA

In recent years, with the expansion of social networks, the Internet has seen an increase in the activity of ‘influencers’.

These influencers are web stars, followed by thousands, even millions of people.

Present on several platforms, they generate a lot of traffic and visibility. Through this awareness, they are then sought after by brands for paid partnerships or are paid directly by websites.

Often seen as a dream job by younger people, combining leisure with pay, many “influencer” children feature on social network platforms, particularly on the Tiktok or YouTube applications.

So far, the legal status of these children, in videos viewed  millions of times, had not been sufficiently protected. 

A TEXT ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY

On 6 October 2020, the French Parliament adopted a legislative proposal aimed mainly to provide a better framework for the working hours and incomes of children under the age of 16.

The aim of the draft law is to establish a legal framework that will protect the interests of the child.

• Prior individual authorization:

Article 1 of that law extends to the influencer child the system of prior individual authorization for children employed in the entertainment sector (child artists).

If the image of a minor  is used in a broadcast on an audiovisual media service on demand, and if the activity is part of an employment relationship, the prior individual authorization must be applied.

The conditions of employment of the child must be compatible with his or her schooling and

to safeguard his health.

This law also ensures that most of the income received will have to be paid to the Caisse des dépôts et consignations which manages them until the child reaches the age of maturity.

• The empowerment of online video platforms:

Platforms will have the obligation to remove any content that would depict a minor of under 16 years in breach of the prior individual authorization system.

These platforms will also have to adopt charters to promote information and awareness of children about the consequences on their privacy of the dissemination of their image and on psychological and legal risks in connection with child protection.

The Higher Council for Audiovisual Media will be responsible for promoting the signing of these charters.

• Guaranteeing a right to forget

Children under 16 will have the right to be forgotten or deleted on the Internet according to the Law on data processing and freedoms of 6 January 1978. At the direct request of the children involved, video platforms will be obliged to remove their videos without parental consent being required.

FRANCE: PIONEER IN THE FIELD

France is one of the first countries to introduce this type of protection regime, which could encourage other states to address the issue.

Social networks are present in many countries.

In the event of a legal action, a difficulty may arise when the server is located in another country, not part of the European Union for example.

Since the law applicable to the dispute is the one of the state in which the servers are located, the dispute relating to users’ protection issues can be very complex.

There is, however, a very strong divide between the European Union, which gives a major emphasis on the protection of personal data on the Internet, and the United States, which considers that it is only as a last resort the government intervention is required.

However, there is a need to monitor the activity of children as ‘influencers’ in the light of article 32 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child: 

To fill a legal vacuum in videos featuring children who are successful on social networks, the French legislator has adopted an Act to protect the rights of children.

This law responds to numerous issues related to media coverage and monetization of children on online platforms.

AN ACTIVITY SPECIFIC TO DIGITAL ERA

In recent years, with the expansion of social networks, the Internet has seen an increase in the activity of ‘influencers’.

These influencers are web stars, followed by thousands, even millions of people.

Present on several platforms, they generate a lot of traffic and visibility. Through this awareness, they are then sought after by brands for paid partnerships or are paid directly by websites.

Often seen as a dream job by younger people, combining leisure with pay, many “influencer” children feature on social network platforms, particularly on the Tiktok or YouTube applications.

So far, the legal status of these children, in videos viewed  millions of times, had not been sufficiently protected. 

A TEXT ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY

On 6 October 2020, the French Parliament adopted a legislative proposal aimed mainly to provide a better framework for the working hours and incomes of children under the age of 16.

The aim of the draft law is to establish a legal framework that will protect the interests of the child.

• Prior individual authorization:

Article 1 of that law extends to the influencer child the system of prior individual authorization for children employed in the entertainment sector (child artists).

If the image of a minor  is used in a broadcast on an audiovisual media service on demand, and if the activity is part of an employment relationship, the prior individual authorization must be applied.

The conditions of employment of the child must be compatible with his or her schooling and

to safeguard his health.

This law also ensures that most of the income received will have to be paid to the Caisse des dépôts et consignations which manages them until the child reaches the age of maturity.

• The empowerment of online video platforms:

Platforms will have the obligation to remove any content that would depict a minor of under 16 years in breach of the prior individual authorization system.

These platforms will also have to adopt charters to promote information and awareness of children about the consequences on their privacy of the dissemination of their image and on psychological and legal risks in connection with child protection.

The Higher Council for Audiovisual Media will be responsible for promoting the signing of these charters.

• Guaranteeing a right to forget

Children under 16 will have the right to be forgotten or deleted on the Internet according to the Law on data processing and freedoms of 6 January 1978. At the direct request of the children involved, video platforms will be obliged to remove their videos without parental consent being required.

FRANCE: PIONEER IN THE FIELD

France is one of the first countries to introduce this type of protection regime, which could encourage other states to address the issue.

Social networks are present in many countries.

In the event of a legal action, a difficulty may arise when the server is located in another country, not part of the European Union for example.

Since the law applicable to the dispute is the one of the state in which the servers are located, the dispute relating to users’ protection issues can be very complex.

There is, however, a very strong divide between the European Union, which gives a major emphasis on the protection of personal data on the Internet, and the United States, which considers that it is only as a last resort the government intervention is required.

However, there is a need to monitor the activity of children as ‘influencers’ in the light of article 32 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child: 

“States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected and not to be subjected to any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with his education or to harm his health or physical development, mental, spiritual, moral or social.”