Young social media ‘influencers’ in France are to be regulated under new child labour laws, following a court ruling.
Under French law, the money earned and hours worked by children under the age of 16 who spend a significant amount of time creating and posting content online will now be protected.
The ‘Exploitation of the Image of Children on Online Platforms’ bill was first tabled in 2019 and was unanimously passed by the French Parliament on 6 October.
While child labour is prohibitied in France there were some exceptions, including online. However, the new ruling now means that any earnings made by young people would be safeguarded in a bank account that only they will have access to when they turn 16.
The law also states that any company who wishes to employ social media stars who are younger than 16 will need to be granted permission to do so from the local authorities.
Young social media stars will have a “right to be forgotten” under the new law, meaning social media and other online platforms must remove any photos, videos or content at the request of the child.
Protecting the privacy of kids
Child influencers can earn millions every month through social media channels, such as YouTube.
In 2019, the highest paid YouTube star was eight year old Ryan Kajo, who reportedly earned $26 million (£20 million), according to Forbes.
Not far behind was Russian-born Anastasia Radzinskaya, who earned around $18 million (£14 million) last year through her various channels, and is only five years old.
The high earnings come primarily from advertising revenue, but child stars who have a large following can also attract lucrative partnerships and sponsorship deals with various brands, such as toys and clothing.
In an effort to provide young people more protection online, YouTube said last year that it was working to limit revenue streams for children’s channels, after it was accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
In a statement on a blog post at the time, YouTube said that it would limit its data collection on videos and stop serving personalised ads on children’s content entirely.