Govt urged to consider regulations, support for influencers

THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2024

With influencer now among the most sought-after careers for Gen Z, NESDC urges government regulation

With the ever-growing popularity of social media and e-commerce drawing more and more people to become influencers, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) has urged the government to regulate and provide the necessary support to those adopting this emerging career with a potentially high economic value.

According to statistics from Niesen, the ASEAN region had some 13.5 million influencers in 2023, while global revenue through advertising and other channels generated by influencers was about $19 billion. It is estimated that influencers’ contributions to the global economy will grow to $140 billion by 2030, a more than sevenfold increase.

In Thailand, there are about 2 million influencers, the second largest number in ASEAN after Indonesia, Danucha Pichayanan, NESDC secretary-general, said on Wednesday.

“The number of influencers in Thailand is growing, as the occupation offers lucrative revenues and benefits, while more consumers tend to use social media in finding information from key opinion leaders,” he said. “The government needs to issue regulatory and supporting laws for influencers like other countries that take this issue seriously.”

The NESDC suggested the government set up a registration system for Thai influencers and issue supportive policies for people in this occupation, including providing skills training and other career-related assistance.

Having specific regulations and laws for influencers will also help mitigate the impact in case of a crisis that affects influencers’ revenues or employment on a large scale, Danucha pointed out.

“Most importantly, the laws will help prevent influencers from spreading fake or unverified news that could cause public confusion,” he said.

Danucha said several countries already have laws and regulations in place for influencers, such as China, which prohibits the flaunting of wealth and excessively expensive lifestyles via online media to prevent imitation among viewers.

Norway, meanwhile, mandates that social media influencers cannot post modified photos without declaring what they have done. The move aims to reduce the pressure of beauty standards among young people. The United Kingdom is also considering passing a similar law.

The United Arab Emirates requires influencers to register and obtain a permit from the National Media Council, which monitors advertising content and illegal activities online.

According to the NESDC’s study titled “Influencer: When everyone can be media”, influencers in Thailand earn anything between 800-700,000 baht per post, depending on the number of their followers.

The study also found that influencers, streamers and YouTubers ranked among the top 10 dream careers of Thai adolescents in 2024. Their rankings are above lawyers, pilots, and government officials.

Meanwhile, the government’s Anti-Fake News Centre reported that in 2023, 5,061 topics of fake news were posted by over 7,000 social media accounts, including those belonging to famous influencers.

Some Thai influencers were found to have advertised illegal websites, such as online gambling, to their millions of followers, the centre added.