ARCON Releases Vetting Rates, Increases the cost of Social media Adverts

Social Media Plug-ins:

Nigerians running social media adverts will now have to pay an extra cost for the vetting of the content by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON). ARCON, which has earlier mandated social media influencers and bloggers, among others, to seek its approval before advertising any product or service online, has now released its rates for vetting such content.

According to the advert regulator, normal vetting for any social media ad costs N7,500, and this will take 7 days. To accelerate the process and get the approval in 2 days, ARCON said that will cost N70,000, while those who want their adverts to be vetted within one day will pay N100,000.

In a memo sent to all its regional directors, zonal directors, and liaison heads, a copy of which was sighted by Nairametrics, the council said the implementation of the social media rates took effect on May 9, 2023.

ARCON in a public notice issued in December last year had mandated skit makers, social media influencers, and bloggers, among others to seek its approval before advertising any product or service online. The Council said this is in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice and the ARCON Act No. 23 of 2022.

According to the regulator, anyone caught violating the Act would be sanctioned and prosecuted in a court of law.

The advertising regulator said enforcing compliance with the Act became imperative as it had received complaints about the advertisements, advertising, and marketing communications activities of skit makers, comedians, influencers, content creators/producers, bloggers, vloggers, etc. on digital/online media platforms.

Explaining the issues with adverts being publicized by the digital influencers, ARCON in the notice signed by its Director-General, Olalekan Fadolapo, said:

“Most of the advertisements exposed by this group are not only unethical with unverified claims and misinformation, but also in violation of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice.”

“By this public notice, brand owners, digital agencies, secondary digital media space owners (i.e. bloggers, vloggers, influencers, comedians, skit makers, etc), and other advertising stakeholders in the digital online media space are advised to obtain pre-exposure approval of all advertisements, advertising, and marketing communications by the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice and the ARCON Act No. 23 of 2022.”

He also added that “ARCON will take all necessary actions including sanctions and prosecution of violators of the provisions of the Act to ensure compliance.”

Earlier in October, ARCON originated a lawsuit against Meta incorporated, owners of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and its agent AT3 Resources Limited, at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, alleging that the social media platform has continued exposure to unvetted advertisements had led to the loss of revenue to the federal government.

In the lawsuit, the apex regulatory body for Nigeria’s advertising ecosystem is seeking N30 billion in sanctions for the “violation of the advertising laws and loss of revenue as a result of Meta’s continued exposure of unapproved adverts on its platforms.”