III. Status of “influencers”:

Definition of influencers: natural or legal persons who, for a fee, mobilize their notoriety among their audience to communicate to the public, by electronic means, content aimed at promoting, directly or indirectly, goods, services or any cause.

Legal issues:

According to valid partnership contracts with brands, communication agencies, distribution platforms, influencers must assume responsibility for the content they publish and the possible consequences of their distribution. They are responsible for the information on the legal status and validity of promoted businesses, as well as for the veracity of the prices announced.

Lawsuits for damages, resulting from social media advertising and the consequent violation of the property rights of local farmers, directly against “influencers”.

1. Responsibilities:

A. Civil liability:

- Information and advice obligations;

- In the event of non-compliance: influencers may incur civil liability and be required to compensate the damage suffered by the victims. Victims may in particular seek compensation for material damage (such as loss of property or a sum of money) or moral damage (such as damage to reputation or image).

B.Criminal liability:

- Misleading advertising: Influencers may be held criminally liable for misleading advertising or unfair commercial practices. Misleading advertising is characterised by the dissemination of false or misleading information, and can lead to criminal sanctions;

- Influencers can be held criminally liable for defamation or invasion of privacy.

C. Fiscal and social responsibility.

2. Transparency:

- Influencers are required to comply with the transparency and advertising obligations imposed by the law. They must clearly indicate the commercial nature of their content when presenting products or services.

- In the event of non-compliance with these obligations, they are exposed to civil, criminal and administrative sanctions. Civil liability can result in paying damages for victims.

- The influencer is responsible for the quality and delivery of the products they promote. Commercial communication must be verifiable, otherwise it is a fraudulent commercial practice.

- Influencers may be sued for violating the guidelines for advertising and endorsement on social media, such as failing to disclose compensation or making false or misleading claims.

2. Some relevant legal issues:

- Affects a State owned and State regulated area: Promotion of activities which have never been officially authorised or validated in the sector of the park. Assigning a State protected area a specific function (“alternative” to another State protected area) can be accredited only by the authorised State agency.

- Professional filming in national parks: can be done only with special formal authorisation by Conaf.

Filming for tourism purposes by drones is not authorised.

- All commercial promotions shall be clearly identified as such, see below.

  1. -Filming in clearly identified private properties with no authorisation or informing the landowners: you need permission from the owner or manager of the private property to film or take photographs while on the property. Any commercialisation of such filming or photographing can be done only under officially sought agreement of the owner of the property.

  2. -It’s illicit to advertise and sell for own benefit the use of private land

  of others (more than 15 properties in this case),

  and in particular of a State regulated area.

  1. -The compensation for damages can be claimed under respective civil law

procedures directly from those who disseminate publicly the

wrong information and publish false advertising. 

The above cases provided an opportunity to emphasise

the legal status of the commercial activities of the “influencers”:

I. A watershed moment and no-return point : an illustrative case of deleterious effects of social media’s self-promotional

campaigns in nature protected areas, with legal consequences:

A risky promotional ice water swimming challenge was organised in the lake by “influencers” (“a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media”) and a tour operator. In the national park closed at that time (23.01.2021) by the regional Conaf resolution 57/2020. With little attention paid to the safety rules for such "challenges". In the midst of the pandemic, ignoring completely the Covid-19 sanitary rules in force at that time. With no communication from a lake where several lethal accidents occurred in the last years. The accompanying TVN crew filming the event was performing filmmaking in private properties without any contact with nor authorisation by the landowners. The “event” in the lake and glacier, which has neither habilitated public access nor professional rescue coverage, has been (see below) widely and continuously promoted on social networks and in the mass media (first broadcast: TVN 10 July 2021), including the publication of inadequate information about the area.

Legal issues, seeking damages: Tita Ureta , Barbara hernandez swimmer,  @barbarehlla_h, ice mermaid

  1. The obvious: the filming was done in contravention of the basic norms for professional/commercial filming of the legislation on audio-visual services and audiovisual law, as well as national parks.

  2. Use of properties of others for own profit;  commercials were were filmed in private land, with no contact with the landowners.

  3. Deceptive advertising: false information about the tourism destination.

  4. Commercial messages on social networks must be marked as advertisements.

  5. Generating the risk of spreading pathological agents in violation of an order issued by the health authority at times of epidemic is a criminal offense under national law.

  6. Product of the unauthorised commercial filming was sold through the production company, issues of  fraudulent use of property of others and of disposing of their property against their will were raised under civil law procedures.

  7. Issues of payment of reparations and compensation to the wronged landowners for revenues from filming and advertisements; losses for private landowners and farmers can be calculate in monetary terms, unjustified enrichment issues.

  8. Copyright issues: the image of the property of others was sold under own presumed copyright (of the influencers and the tour operator). Trading license issues: under which license the use of property was traded?

  9. Taxation issues: General issue of taxation of influencers, for profits made, including sponsorships. No contract was concluded between the landowners and the influencers and the tour operator, how were the taxes paid?

  10. The publicity of this unacceptable, to say the least, promotional event and illicit filming, which resulted in a legal case, continued for some time. In order to perpetrate this “initiative” an exclusive contract  was concluded.

Also see below.

Liability of social media:

legal cases involving travel, sport etc. “influencers”

legal liability of tourism
tita ureta
tita ureta

IV. Socio-ecological footprint of such events:

  1. Most important: degradation of the protection level of a State regulated and protected area. Undermining the control and regulation capacity of the body responsible for the State protected area, the national park.

  2. The value of the land so far preserved, the joint efforts to protect the nature of the valley and its image were exported and sold to and by external players of the media market, through a typical “greenwashing”. No ecosystem services locally paid.

  3. One of the area of the filming is specially protected for its fragile biodiversity, under threat now.

  4. Increased anthropogenic stress through the interest of mass tourism and traffic to the closed sector of the national park through private rural land, increased insecurity in the valley Leones.

  5. The small, mainly agricultural, landowners of the valley see their property and other rights and interests ignored, their communal resources exploited. Previously done road repairs on a road used by the community are removed now to prevent further events of this type.

  6. For the nature protection project: the substantial efforts deployed to give the still vulnerable nature and wildlife a chance to regenerate are compromised by exposure, disrespect and misuse of resources.

  7. Probably compromising the UNESCO biosphere reserve status: staging “influencers” are not listed as a management tool in the management plan for the LSRNP and the biosphere reserve.

  1. II.A travel “influencer”, example 2024: @benjavalenzuelawallis , sponsored by Ladera Sur:

1. Commercialising access, camping, walking on ice, boat trips etc. in a sector of a national park (sector Leones of the Laguna san Rafael NP) which has no official entry points and where no tour operator has valid permits to conduct these activities. Can be therefore classified as an advertisement of a presumably “false destination”. Filmed in clearly identified private properties, including commercials, without any consultation with the landowners.

barbara hernandez nadadora

Travel influencers sued for deceptive advertising