Influencers should not have to share their home address on social media, said Flemish Media Minister Benjamin Dalle in response following a lot of uncertainty about the new regulation last weekend.
Various influencers in Belgium received a warning from the Federal Public Service Economy, pointing out that they have to mention their address and a company number on their social media profiles. This is mandatory due to a European directive that has been in force for several months for anyone who advertises online and is paid for it.
Those who do not do so risk a fine of up to €80,000. Several Belgian influencers, however, have since sounded the alarm and said that they would not be making their addresses public. Flemish Media Minister Benjamin Dalle now stated that he agrees with them.
In a letter to State Secretary for Consumer Protection Eva De Bleeker, he said that forcing influencers to mention their address on all their channels "seems at odds with respect for their private lives."
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Dalle points out that this often concerns celebrities with many digital followers and fans, "some of whom like to pay an unsolicited visit to the home town of their idol. This also gives people with bad intentions easy access to the home address of the celebrity they are following on social media."
That is why he is asking De Bleeker to revise this regulation, in a way that respects the private lives of influencers and content creators. "In particular, I would ask you not to require physical addresses to be shared via their social media channels."
Dalle added that Belgium could consider using the Dutch system, in which offering a contact option is sufficient. In practice, this means that influencers could publish an email address to reach them. Whether or not that is also an option in Belgium is up to the political leaders, according to the FPS Economy.