Just how much power does a digital influencer command? How serious, or to what extent do we align to the message passed by influencers that have taken advantage of the online marketing boom thanks to the growth of social platforms such as Facebook and people’s current darling, Instagram and YouTube?
Well, it appears that these people constitute the building blocks of what can be termed as editorial content that is similar to what the traditional press distributes and is subject to editorial ethics and journalism laws. This development has received widespread attention after a Danish influencer posted a suicide note on her Instagram profile.
According to BBC, a lot of people left thousands of comments and likes on the disturbing post, which remained visible on the picture-sharing platform for two days before it was pulled down. It has also been reported that the influencer did try to harm herself, and is recuperating in a health facility.
The issue raised country-wide concerns in the European nation, where Denmark’s Minister for Children and Education is pushing for editorial responsibility that should be mandatory for online influencers. In principle, rules that guard against careless posts in traditional media should trickle down to new forms of journalism.
The basis behind this case is simple: according to the Minister, people who have many followers that command substantial engagement must be subject to the same standards of the old press.
“So, for instance… the Danish ethical standards for the press is that you do not write about suicide or suicide attempts if it doesn’t concern the general public. We want these same standards applied to social media,” noted the Minister.
Should the regulation receive the necessary approvals, then influencers in Denmark will have to examine their posts before hitting that ‘share’ button. Failure to adhere to this will see their posts deleted.
However, some influencers have their concerns, citing that online marketing is entirely new, and should not be eroded by laws that could harm creativity.