Influencers Tell All? Unravelling Authenticity and Credibility in a Brand Scandal
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This chapter discusses the emerging practices of social media Influencers. In focus are six influential Instagram Influencers who were ‘exposed’ for involving themselves in campaigns aiming to discredit telecommunications providers in Singapore. In the absence of enforced legal boundaries and industry norms regarding advertising formats and advertising ethics, brand scandals are frequent, causing concern among regulators, brand managers, and platform owners. When starting to accommodate commercial brands and contents in social media posts, Influencers are constantly at risk of breaching their contract of trust with their followers. The case study shows how Influencers, followers, and eventually also the brand clients, are sensitive to what they experience as deceptive and unethical behaviours that will put normative pressures onto the Influencers to conform to certain ethical standards.
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