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Influencer ethics on Instagram 2

999 replies

MadameGrizzly · 16/05/2018 09:37

It appears we haven't quite finished workshopping the ethical issues of 'influencing' on Instagram: disclose of advertising, the exploitation of minors and the similarities to MLM schemes.

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Mummyshephard · 16/05/2018 09:43

The way I see it, any use of children in advertising without them being signed up to an external agency who handle their booking and finances is morally wrong. I think in the future, Instagram influencers who use & exploit their children for money will feel really ashamed that they did that & wish they’d used other means.
The same goes for using & exploiting people in poverty to present a charitable demeanour. Fundraising is one thing but going on paid for trips, and there have been half a dozen examples of these lately, posting photos for awareness without disclosing the impact of the campaign & then reverting to a life of luxury is shameful

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FlyingBird · 16/05/2018 09:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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MarshaBradyo · 16/05/2018 09:45

That was an abrupt 1000 ;
I was going to say

You have to be loads nicer on IG to get some love your way. If you’re after followers and dreams of £. So yes lots of fawning and fakery.

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Bullnoway · 16/05/2018 09:45

As I said in an earlier post, my concern is about instamum authority. My personal view is that while I would rather see instafame be used for good rather than solely personal gain (in the same way that I would be delighted to see taxes increased to improve services for everyone, for example), and while it is reasonable to debate these issues, one cannot expect instamums to respond/ change their behaviours (much in the same way that I can't expect a Tory to change their vote).

That said, and with apologies if that already exists, would it be helpful to propose a charter if some kind, setting out what good looks like? It could set out some ideas on, for example:

  • Full disclosure on all advertising
  • Speaking on issues without qualification/ authority
  • Use of children in advertising
  • Ideas for using visibility for social good
  • Best practice for engaging with a charity/ campaign
  • What best practice around diversity looks like (I'm thinking of the Hello/ Next debacle)
  • A statement to which instamums could sign up to, which supports debate and commits to blocking their followers who respond negatively to debate



In the end, none of the insta mums are obliged to see things as others might. But perhaps trying to articulate best practice would be a useful effort.
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MadameGrizzly · 16/05/2018 09:46

It's a rather informal workshop: we are all free to wander in and out!

Poverty tourism is a dreadful thing, but it's even worse when someone is PAID to participate.

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jamoncrumpets · 16/05/2018 09:47

Thing is though, just because you or I see the irony (and hypocrisy) in making charitable trips then going on 6+ free luxury holidays a year it doesn't mean that the influencers will. Or that they have to.

None of what we discuss in this respect is remotely enforceable. It's ugly as hell but most displays of wealth are.

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MadameGrizzly · 16/05/2018 09:48

Damn, authority and expertise. I knew I left something out of the OP. I was typing in haste to put a link on the last thread.

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MadameGrizzly · 16/05/2018 09:51

Oh, I like the charter idea, Bullnoway.

On a previous thread someone suggested MN inviting the ASA in for a chat, and I think that would be really worthwhile, too.

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jamoncrumpets · 16/05/2018 09:56

Is it's Mumsnet's job to police Instamums though? Why should Mumsnet invite the ASA in? Don't get me wrong, I despise sneaky #ad #spon #gifted as much as the next 'bully' but I don't think it's within Mumsnet's remit to act as the go between with regulators on this.

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MadameGrizzly · 16/05/2018 10:02

I think it's a good idea because a lot of MN users would like to give the ASA feedback as they are very much a targeted audience on Instagram.

MN has/had a reputation for agitating for social change and this is an issue that matters to many people.

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FlyingBird · 16/05/2018 10:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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Lkjem · 16/05/2018 10:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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FlyingBird · 16/05/2018 10:16

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Lkjem · 16/05/2018 10:22

Flyingbird, yes apologies I did think I went to far when I pressed send.
Afraid people who use children to make money does get to me.
Mod sorry for extreme reaction to you best I don’t comment as you do make me loose the plot.

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bernardswatch · 16/05/2018 10:26

I’ve been reading these threads (all of them) with interest as I work in this murky field. Whilst I don’t think the threads should turn into a focus group exercise as such, I’m intrigued to know whether people really don’t think there’s a difference between “being sent a product for free in the hope of a mention” and “a paid partnership with a brand where they dictate key messaging, pre-approve imagery and have final say on all captions”.

I’ve felt like the general consensus so far on these threads has been that in both these scenarios (freebie with no creative control vs paid partnership with total creative control) the disclosure #ad should be used. My personal take would be that there’s a big difference between a freebie where the influencer can say what they want and shoot how they want (although admittedly risking not being sent more free stuff!) vs a more staged/dictated advert under contract, which is why I ask.

To be clear, I think all free samples (I don’t think “gift” is the right word) should 100% be declared, but I’m not sure #ad is the correct way to do it as a REAL advert (one where money changes hands, contracts are signed and the brand dictates the creative) is very different in my book. As a follower, I’d want to know when the latter has happened.

To be honest, I can see why disclosure has become such a mess and the ASA guidelines are so woolly. There’s so many layers to the way brands work with influencers and unless an influencer is literally going to state the exact terms of their contract (“I have been paid to feature this product on my feed twice but I might wear it more often” type thing) then it’s tricky. I don’t think it’s as simple as saying label EVERYTHING with #ad if there has been any sort of perk because it detracts from the paid partnerships where an influencer has been told what to say under strict conditions.

And as people have said in previous threads, if a handbag was given in exchange for two Instagram mentions and this was declared at the time...but then the influencer features it for months and months, should they have to say #ad every time?

I’ve confused myself just writing all this tbh.

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jamoncrumpets · 16/05/2018 10:26

I don't expect Mumsnet to be heavily involved here. That doesn't mean we can't discuss it on these boards, I just think it isn't within their remit.

Also, 'evil'? Dial it down a bit, mate.

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anyalovesrose · 16/05/2018 10:26

I can see how you’d think I only blag about my ‘wealth’ and use my kids to make money but I would like to point out that neither myself or my husband make huge wads of cash, if we did he wouldn’t still work full time as a management consultant. I also am fully committed to my job as an NHS midwife I adore being a midwife, it’s a selfless but entirely rewarding job and I have lots of plans to expand this and use my knowledge and platform to talk more about midwifery, as per my blog.

I also realised I forgot to post a birth story last week, it’ll be up on my feed tomorrow I’m just waiting for consent from the woman

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FlyingBird · 16/05/2018 10:28

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FlyingBird · 16/05/2018 10:33

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TheLadyhasarrived · 16/05/2018 10:34

anyalovesrose just in case you do come back to the thread, something I’ve wondered about is if the NMC has ever said anything to you about your blog/insta?
Back when I trained (bearing in mind I gave up my registration when I had my first dc 10 years ago) we had it drummed into us that we must not use our professional qualifications in the media, I can’t remember the exact wording sorry.
I wondered if that was still the case or has it all moved on with the advent of social media and the internet?
Also do the other HCPs you work with read your blog or comment to you about it at all?

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MarshaBradyo · 16/05/2018 10:36

I didn’t see the potty pic (lucky me) and I’m not really as interested in specifics

But whether a younger child has a right to privacy - not potty pics or school blazers - just whether they should get the same treatment as older children

I think it’s ok to look at this because none of us grew up with it so let’s think about what it might be like. And if it’s a good thing to do it at all

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Mummyshephard · 16/05/2018 10:40

@anyalovesrose the fact that you don’t think you or your husband earn huge wads of cash from Instagram shows exactly how ignorant you are to working class people. How would you cope on the national living wage? You saying your husband & you still keep your day jobs because you’re not earning huge wads of cash makes no sense since you moved to the coast & I imagine any peak travel costs outweigh your nhs salary.

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jamoncrumpets · 16/05/2018 10:40

I get that your feed needs to be polished in order to maintain your brand MOD/anyalovesrose. That includes showing other brands in a good light, so obvs you're not going to be posting pictures of yourself in your pjs at 10am with leaky boobs and a scruffy top knot. You're going to show yourself looking at your best because that is what your collaborators want you to portray. And I don't think that's necessarily you 'bragging', you're fulfilling briefs from advertisers etc. And I do think that you as a mum/midwife/wife are probably a v different person from the person you are perceived to be here, and how it must feel like that side of you is being attacked. I do get that, and that must be hard to see on here.

I think people see it as 'bragging' because it's just not portraying a realistic lifestyle for many of the women that follow you. So it may seem that you're waving what they can't afford in their faces AND trying to sell them that thing at the same time. And it's an impossible standard. So they perceive you to be bragging about your good fortune when you're actually just doing the job that you've chosen to do.

I'm a white middle class woman in my mid thirties with a professional level of education, a young family and a husband that works in a creative industry. I'm basically your target audience. But I have only had one holiday in the last four years, and that's only because a wealthier friend let us 'tag along' with them on theirs. There will be no holiday this year. I can't afford small brands. I wash my face with whatever face wash is on offer in Sainsbury's at the time I go shopping. So even though, demographically, I should be devouring your feed you can see how actually very little of it appeals to me, except the midwifery side (because I'm pregnant).

I respect you for coming on here and fielding some of the more ridiculous comments being flung at you. I wouldn't choose to make money in the way that you do, but I'm certainly not going to cry 'evil' at you either.

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anyalovesrose · 16/05/2018 10:42

Good question.

I’ve had lots of contact with the NMC and supervisors re my blog and my book. I always make sure when discussing midwifery that I give evidence based content on a general aspect ie I dont give individual advice to people (I was getting lots of dms asking for advice and I had to address this on my stories ie don’t ask my about reduce feral movement always see your midwife)

I would never breach the code when it comes to advertising ie as I midwife I recommend this face cream and the same for ethics about breastfeeding/bottle feeding. A good 5 years ago I wrote a blog post called ‘is breastfeeding always best’ it got a very heated discussion going and I had to speak to my line manager and supervisor and take it down. I missed the mark on it as I gave my professional and personal view which muddled the lines.

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anyalovesrose · 16/05/2018 10:44

Fetal! Not feral Shock

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