The Spanish government's proposed legislation aimed at regulating influencers and safeguarding minors has come under fire for its limited scope and perceived failure to protect young audiences adequately. 

Critics argue that the proposed laws, while targeting harmful content, fall short of effectively regulating the burgeoning influencer marketing industry. The Draft Royal Decree, released by the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transformation in December 2023, intends to crack down on influencers promoting potentially harmful products. 

Scheduled for implementation in the first quarter of 2024, the proposed regulations seek to shield minors from exposure to content endorsing alcohol, tobacco, slimming products, unrealistic body images, and cosmetic surgery. Moreover, advertising related to gambling and betting by influencers with substantial followings would be restricted to the early morning hours, between 1 am and 5 am.

The laws have been compared to similar measures adopted in other European countries, such as those in France and Italy. Last year France introduced legislation to prohibit influencers from endorsing products like tobacco and to enforce greater transparency regarding paid content, in response to a surge of fraudulent activities on the internet involving influencers, who have convinced their followers to spend money on fake or questionable products, and sometimes even scam cancer cures.

Although Italy has recently seen a new era of influencer marketing in its vibrant region, its communications authority AGCOM similarly implemented stringent regulations aimed at enhancing transparency in social media posts by influencers and celebrities with substantial online followings, which was arguably in response to the controversy surrounding influencer Chiara Ferragni's problematic Christmas charity initiative.

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