Chanel, YouTubers are being slammed for advertising innocuous products

Okay, people, we have a problem with 2018’s holiday deals and apps.

As you can imagine, Amazon is having a great year. The online mega-retailer boasts tons of amazing deals and offers in its own sale of the year event Prime Day. So it makes sense that there have been a lot of promotions offered with video-streaming apps.

But after watching a recent trend in YouTube comments and social media, it’s evident that some people are displeased about the actual content that they’re sharing with their family and friends.

It all started with Chanel, who began a series of videos selling makeup or clips showing them how to get her trademark smokey eye look. (I’d love to see the “book something after” section of the end product section of Chanel’s YouTube channel.)

But the videos were shared, liked and commented on as a bit of a joke. (Everyone knows Chanel doesn’t really smoke, and is probably wearing ChapStick by now, right?)

The assumption that Chanel was selling fun little Instagram stuff to her fans was made a bit more clear last week when TikTok, a video-streaming app owned by YouTube, revealed their “App Advent Calendar.” With promises of “insane, terrifying content” each day until December, this app showed up popular brands like Teen Vogue, Penguin and more. And also Chanel.

As soon as Chanel’s video became a promotional tool on TikTok, people began calling out the influencer for being paid to post to the app. And the social media backlash didn’t just happen the next day; people were completely trolling and mocking the influencer, posting “Scandal is so hot now!” and “Scandal is really alive now now.”

Soon the posts were making headlines and spreading across other social media platforms, including Twitter.

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It’s amazing how Chanel and others got slammed for doing something that is legal, and how trolls have let their personal opinions rule the day.

Maybe we should give influencers more credit when they’re actually selling something. When we watch a web series or a video, how much of it is advertising or marketing?

Wendy Hargreaves, an associate professor of communications at Baylor University who studies social media in general, says that social media influencers have become quite influential. “Social media personalities have become the youngest celebrity endorsers of products,” she told the Washington Post.

But does that mean that influencers are allowed to endorse things that aren’t selling products, or that they have to simply do whatever it takes to keep making money? After all, all influencers need is a big following and a way to advertise, but not necessarily sell products.

“Social media has leveled the playing field in the case of endorsing a product,” says Hargreaves. “It used to be that a celebrity endorser was usually able to control the conversation about their product by having a high profile and reputation for selling things.”

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That’s why influencers’ endorsement has so much clout, and why it’s so important to tell the truth when someone is being paid to give their opinion. “Social media can be a tremendous platform if you have a message that is powerful, which is easy to say but much harder to do with any sort of consistency,” she says.

But what some people are looking for from influencers, which is a bit deceptive, is something legitimate. They want to know that people are authentic, or at least, that they are honest when they share their thoughts and opinions with their audience.

It’s a fine line of balancing all of that, but one way to do it? “You have to be authentic about it,” says Hargreaves. “You can’t claim to be somebody or be somebody, just an influencer. Because you may be better at everything else but if you’re not trustworthy in how you represent yourself, then people are going to wonder, ‘Is this real?'”

Let’s hope no one goes jumping to conclusions about the people behind Chanel’s videos and accepting whatever the influencer is hawking.

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