Webinar on protection of vulnerable consumers on digital markets

21 March 2024
14:00 - 15:45 hrs.

Digital markets create challenges for most consumers. It is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to make well-founded transactional decisions without having businesses interfering with powerful marketing techniques, such as deceptive design, AI based interactions, micro-targeted advertisement, and influencer marketing.

Vulnerable consumers, including children, are at particular risk. Children spend a lot of time online, playing games, interacting with friends, and creating content on social media platforms. Their online activities make them an important target group for traders and advertisers, resulting in digital playgrounds full of commercial content. Children are navigating through a mix of commercial and non-commercial content, where influencers - building on their relationships with their followers - intensively market products towards children, and where children are starting to interact with AI-based services.

Clear disclosures of commercial content are crucial to trigger children’s critical thinking. Yet, hidden marketing on social media platforms and other digital media is considered a major consumer problem in many countries. In some cases, influencers are targeting young women with inappropriate marketing that are both affecting their purchasing decisions, as well as their health. Gender-based vulnerability is important to consider as the power of social media only seems to grow.

The digital landscape creates new risks for vulnerable consumers, and challenges for enforcement authorities which may require new and innovative measures to ensure a high level of consumer protection.

This webinar is organized in the framework of the UNCTAD informal working group on Consumer protection in e-commerce. The objective of the webinar is to discuss how vulnerable consumers could be protected on digital markets, and how research could make the enforcement of consumer protection legislation more effective.

Swedish Consumer Agency

English  |    
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