Facebook loves money. I do think that they will do something to try and make more money off of influencers, caveat being like end of the day, Facebook just wants to make sure that you're opening the app every day. Influencers do a great job of driving interest in the app. Without influencers, Instagram kind of becomes Facebook, it's just like your high school friends and your family members posting shitty updates of their dogs.
It becomes less interesting. What you all are creating on the platform and the way that you're using it is driving a lot of eyeballs and value so Instagram is not going to do anything to try and jeopardize that. A lot of the value that influencers are driving isn't from the dollars that they're earning, but Facebook has always done things to try and make more money. They're incredible at making money. I don't see them getting directly involved in negotiating and with and paying influencers.
If you think about it, they would kind of have to treat them as general contractors so you would have hundreds of thousands of 1099 employees that you're working with. It would be an absolute nightmare. Let's think like if Ford is paying an influencer and they have to do it through Facebook's platform and then Ford says, "Well, the influencer didn't do exactly what they said so I paid that money but I want it back."
Now Instagram needs to go or Facebook needs to go to the influencer and say, "Hey, you didn't do these deliverables so we need that money back. We're going to take it back," this and that. lt is a lot of work for-- Let's say they take 10% of the payments of a billion dollars that's what, a hundred million dollars?
A hundred million dollars to Facebook is nothing. It's a rounding error. I saw that they got fined half a million pounds for the Cambridge analytical stuff. That was the most that the Irish courts or something could find them. Someone said that a half a million pounds which is like $650,000 was something like three and a half minutes of revenue for them. A hundred million dollars just isn't going move the needle enough to probably justify the amount of people that they would have to add and processes and technology that they have to get that money.
We will see though. The other part of the question was, how should an influencer deal with brand liability like a brand does something shitty and you work with them and how should a brand deal with a situation where an influencer does something shitty? In both scenarios, I think that if you believe what the brand did was shitty, you should distance yourself. You saw like PewDiePie, the big YouTuber said some bigoted, racist things on his YouTube channel, a lot of his advertisers publicly walked away and said, "Hey, we don't support this. We're out."
Let's say you were working with H&M and when the H&M t-shirt debacle happened months ago, a lot of predominant celebrities that they were working with walked away and said, "Hey, I'm walking out of my contract with them. I'm done. I can't support this." I think as brands start to feel more like people and as people start to feel more like brands, you have to understand that there are consequences to the actions. I think that if a brand does something and you really feel like that doesn't align with your code of ethics or with what you believe in, then you should walk away from that brand.
If your relationship is close enough that your identity is tied up with them and you could be negatively impacted, I would act quickly in distancing yourself. My caveat from an influencer side would be I would reach out to the brand and see if they have an explanation and try and have a dialogue first. I think in the case of something like the H&M situation with the t-shirt, you just walk away. What explanation could they possibly give?
If it is something less cut and dry from that, you might want to reach out and say, “Hey, I'm not feeling comfortable with this relationship right now because I don't agree with what you did over here. Could you explain it? I'm an environmentalist and I saw that you were polluting so it's tough for me to continue to work with you. What's your explanation? Why should I continue to work with you? What are you doing to fix this?”
If they're smart and they realize the problem and they're working to fix it, and you feel like it is a problem that can be solved, then you could be part of the solution, and say, “Hey, everyone. I found out that X Brand was doing this thing I didn't agree with. I reached out to them. Here's their plan of action that they told me they're doing, with deadlines. I'm holding them accountable to that because I'm passionate about environmentalism. I feel like I can be more helpful continuing to work with them and push them and hold them accountable than I can’t if I just walk away from the relationship which really isn't going to hurt the brand anyway."
"I understand it could be hard for some you to understand why I would continue working with the brand that harms the environment since I'm such an environmentalist but I am talking to them. They are trying to make changes. I will keep you up to date with what is happening. If they don't meet those deadlines and they don't do the things they said they were going to do, I'm going to walk away from the relationship and I'll let you know."
I think there are times when that approach can be more powerful than just throwing up your hands, walking away, and saying, “Fuck them,” but case by case, there's some things you can't take back and there's some things that are inexcusable. In those cases, you just walk away. If that happened, I would send the person you're working with at the brand and note and say, chances are, the person you're working with was not involved in the decision that has made you walk away so I would send them a note and say, “I've liked working with you."
"I think you all are great. I hope you understand that what you have done goes against my moral code in a way that I can't work with you. I'm going to delete the post from my feed. Let me know if you need me to return the money," whatever it is, leave them in a good spot because that person you worked with is going to leave that brand and they're going to go somewhere else and you want to make sure that you did the classy thing and let them know and explained your actions before you blasted them online.
- Mastering Engagement, Instagram Monetizing, Popular Destinations