C4's Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans
by Jo Shaer, on August 11, 2013
It was interesting watching C4's Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans on Monday - shown again at 8pm on Monday 12th.
Facebook Like Farms
The programme's first focus was on 'Like Farms' in Dakar, Bangladesh. A large number of Facebook Pages had likes running into hundreds of thousands. But, when you clicked to find out more about the demographic of those likers, the majority were young men from Dakar. In itself, not necessarily unusual. Except when the pages concerned tourism in the Peak District in the UK?
This was a series of offices staffed in shifts by young men with thousands of fake Facebook accounts. Remember, the first rule of Facebook? You can only have one login. And that must be a personal account in your own name.
Several large brands had also been caught up in the scam, although they denied all knowledge of any wrong doing. And had 'made private' the pages that were involved.
In most cases, third party marketers were involved. But the programme went to great pains to explain that the buck rested with the brand itself. You need to know who is handling your social media and exactly what strategies they are using.
The reporter then moved on to celebrity tweeting.
Several actors and actresses on some of the UK's favourite soaps seemed to be involved in tweets that endorsed brands and products in return for cash or freebies. When footage of their activities was revealed, they all denied any wrongdoing. The insisted that they had been given a gift and their tweet merely thanked the brand for that freebie.
MediaWeek have also picked up on this programme. They asked the Advertising Standards Authority for a comment and the ASA reiterated that any adverts must be clearly identifiable. And this includes advertising within tweets.
If any celebrity is paid to post a favourable tweet about a brand or product, this constitutes an advertisement and must include the #ad hashtag so their followers can recognise this easily. Most importantly, the responsibility for this lies with the brand, not the celebrity.