The end of impunity has most certainly sounded like influencers sharing projects with their community without doing any due diligence. Indeed, the group of Aid to victims of influencers (AVI) announced the filing of several complaints against influencers for organized fraud and breach of trust.
After having jointly collected complaints from 88 different peoplethe AVI collective mandated the law firm Ziegler & Associés, specializing in banking law and IT and digital law, to take legal action.
During a press conference that took place in the 16th arrondissement of Paris on the morning of January 23, the collective returned in more detail to the content of the complaints. Filled with hope for the future, these complaints should help prevent the abuses of influencers from thriving in an increasingly connected world.
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Influencers under investigation for scam
Formed in June 2022, the AVI collective intends support victims of influencers “promoting abusive dropshipping, risky financial investments, counterfeits, illicit medical acts”.
These practices, which have become commonplace, can difficult to be the object of an individual struggle. Thereby, the use of actions collective is almost inevitable in order to really hope to succeed.
Therefore, these first two complaints have an exceptional character since they are the first to be filed in this way in France. Concretely, they concern “advice in very risky financial operations accompanied by false promises”.
The Animoon project
The first complaint against X was addressed to the Paris prosecutor’s office and target the project NFT Anime. According to the complaint, this NFT project is simply a scam. By basing its entire collection on the Pokémon universe, without having obtained authorization from the rights holders, the AVI collective accuses the project of having misled investors.
Indeed, this project had prompted more than 5,000 people to invest for a total of $6.3 million. Worse, many influencers have echoed this project by assuring their community that they could obtain a monthly income of 2500 dollars, luxury clothes or even trips to Japan.
Unfortunately for investors, the promises of the creators of the project turned out to be mirages. Therefore, the complaint accuses the project of fraud in an organized gang, breach of trust in an organized gang, association of criminals and counterfeiting of intellectual rights in an organized gang.
A second complaint is filed against the couple of reality TV influencers, Marc and Nadé Blata for fraud in an organized gang, breach of trust in an organized gang and association of criminals. These two personalities have nearly 7 million subscribers on Instagram and use it to promote many projects to their community.
However, this complaint specifically targets the copy-trading activity promoted by Marc and Nadé Blata. Known to be a high-risk activity reserved only for experienced professionals, the couple regularly promotes a telegram channel allowing their community, for a minor part, to indulge in this practice.
Although difficult to really quantify the consecutive losses to the promotion of “Blatagang” trading, a victim of the project who lost more than 1,000 euros explains that he was taken in, but expects justice to condemn these influencers to prevent other people from falling into the trap cleverly thought through their marketing.
More complaints to come
The AVI collective explains that “the goal is to stop all this and to recognize the many victims who had to count for some of the heavy losses”. In addition, they hope to succeed in raising public awareness of these abuses.
Therefore, these first two complaints should quickly be supplemented by new complaints in particular with regard to the former candidate of reality tv Dylan Thiry.
The government wants to regulate the profession of influencer
This initiative by the AVI collective comes at a time marked by the desire of public services to strengthen the obligations relying on influencers.
Indeed, at the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty launched consultation to better support and supervise influencers.
The latter must make it possible to give a legal definition of the influencer by reinforcing in particular the obligations of social networks on the conformity and non-dangerousness of the products and services promoted by influencers.
Still in its infancy, this consultation should allow to draw up a guide to good conduct to prevent such situations from recurring in the future. On the other hand, it would be regrettable if the future regulations did not distinguish between actors acting in good faith and acting in bad faith.
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