Marketers Steal Social Media Faces: SMC 1(6)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

Online Marketers Steal Social Media Influencer Faces

Wired reports that YouTube and Instagram influencers say they have not authorized marketers to illegally paste their faces onto bodies to sell sketchy products. Once found, the first response should be to send a cease and desist email to Amazon or other sites failing to monitor advertising. An influencer must identify "the specific infringement" (para. 10). It may take the help of a lawyer or brand marketing expert to force a take-down of the image.

"For now, platforms are not proactively dealing with image theft on behalf of influencers," the Wired investigation noted. "It’s up to the individual to report it." Fans sometimes provide the first warning of trouble.

Question: How could the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) make it easier to stop fake advertising?

Twitter Suspends 70 Pro-Bloomberg Accounts Over Manipulation
Twitter fought back against a political spam tactic of using dozens of accounts to blast identical messages, the Los Angeles Times reported. The suspension of 70 accounts included some permanent bans of hired content producers.

"These 'deputy field organizers' receive $2,500 per month to promote the former New York mayor’s candidacy within their personal social circles, in addition to other, more conventional duties," the newspaper reported. "They receive campaign-approved language that they can opt to post."

Question: What do you think should be the spam limits for employee social media posts?

In Brief
In Case You Missed It: Bloomberg's Paid Influencers, Memes and Facebook Policies
Facebook changed its Instagram paid political rules after presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg hired "influencers" to post memes about the former New York City mayor, Politico reports. "Under the new rules, the content will have to be clearly marked as sponsored" (para. 3)."The spokesperson said in a statement that the rule change had been under consideration for some time, with meme posts gaining traction as a campaign tool, and with both political campaigns and government agencies inquiring about the company's policies on their use," (para. 4).

Salon was blunt, calling these "fake" posts: "Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's campaign is paying social media influencers and a social media firm to flood Instagram with fake messages purportedly sent by the billionaire" (para. 1).

The Daily Beast earlier reported that influencers were being paid $150 per post: "For a fixed $150 fee, the Bloomberg campaign is pitching micro-influencers—someone who has from 1,000 to 100,000 followers, in industry parlance—to create original content 'that tells us why Mike Bloomberg is the electable candidate who can rise above the fray, work across the aisle so ALL Americans feel heard & respected'" (para. 4).

Update: The Associated Press called the changes "murky" in raising concerns. "Facebook’s policies leave plenty of loopholes, which campaigns and candidates will likely find ways to exploit until Election Day, said Dipayan Ghosh, a former Facebook employee who is currently co-director of Harvard’s digital platforms and democracy project." Foreign governments also may use the tactic. “We’re in for quite a lot of turmoil and trouble,” Ghosh said (paras. 4-5).
SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

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