Australia-based crypto influencers have been warned they may be fined or prosecuted if they post content that fails to comply with the law.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published an information sheet that sets out how financial products and services laws apply to influencers.
It also gives guidance to Australian financial services (AFS) licensees who use influencers to promote their products.
According to ASIC, influencers without an AFS license should not provide financial product or service advice and must not provide misleading or deceptive information. The Corporations Act imposes significant penalties, including up to five years’ imprisonment for an individual and financial penalties into the millions of dollars for a corporation.
“Think about your content carefully and whether you are providing unlicensed financial services, such as providing financial product advice or dealing by arranging,” reads the information sheet.
Dave Gow, an Australian financial blogger, believes that “penny stocks and various crypto shitcoins” are the reasons “the regulator feels compelled to take action.”
“Writing almost anything could influence someone to invest or use any financial product,” Gow wrote in his blog. “So, if someone asks who we insured our house with, I can’t answer that. If someone asks what super fund or bank I use, I can’t answer that either.”
Australia clamps down on Meta
These restrictions come as another Australian watchdog sued Meta, formerly Facebook, over fraudulent crypto advertisements. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accused the most popular social media platform of engagement in “false, misleading or deceptive conduct by publishing scam advertisements featuring prominent Australian public figures.”
Moreover, the alleged crypto scams seem to be promoted by some prominent Aussie influencers including businessman Dick Smith and TV presenter David Koch.
With the latest restrictions, however, Australia makes it hard not only for scammers but also for bloggers and expert financial advisors.
Gow suggests bloggers “modify old content/minimize investing discussion/not mention any financial products, funds, etc.”