5 horror stories about social media influencers — and Dubai makes the list

Updated 30 January 2018
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5 horror stories about social media influencers — and Dubai makes the list

LONDON: Social media influencers are back in the spotlight following the naming and shaming of British YouTuber Elle Darby. After requesting a free four-night stay at a Dublin hotel in exchange for coverage on her social media channels, Darby found herself in the middle of a social media spat with the hotel owner, Paul Stenson, who attacked Darby’s lack of “self-respect and dignity.”
But Darby is far from the only online influencer to have provoked a negative reaction, as the unruly multi-million dollar, fast-evolving industry tries to find its feet. And this is just as much the case in the Middle East, as it is in the West. 
Dubai-based PR and marketing agencies have told Arab News some of the highs and lows reported by those hiring — and firing — the market movers of today and tomorrow. 

Bloggers Behaving Badly
A Middle Eastern travel influencer asked to be paid 30,000 dirhams ($8,000) for a free one night stay at a hotel. 
A fashionista influencer failed to return an expensive designer coat after being loaned it for a write-up.
An influencer accepted a 50 percent down payment on a long-term marketing partnership, but only managed ONE solitary Instagram post.
An influencer wasted $20,000 of a client’s money when she didn’t like the storyboard of a commercial she was involved in, according to a Dubai-based marketer, who says the influencer then stopped responding to calls, even though she was being paid $80,000.
A Middle Eastern influencer who signed up to partner with a fast-moving consumer goods brand, only to send his manager to a campaign briefing while he slept in his car.
The rewards of the industry are immense, with beauty blogger Huda Kattan reportedly earning $18,000 per post, according to HopperHP.com.

Top Dubai social media influencers
1. Huda Kattan
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 24M
If you’re interested in: Beauty 

2. Abdullaziz Baz
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 4.6M
If you’re interested in: Humor

3. Mo Vlogs
Platform: YouTube... Followers: 4M
If you’re interested in: Luxury LifeStyle

4. Taim Alfalasi
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 2.4M
If you’re interested in: Travel and Food

5. Khalid Al-Ameri
Platform: Instagram… Followers: 175K
If you’re interested in: Social Commentary

6. Mohanad Alwadiya
Platform: Twitter... Followers: 142K
If you’re interested in: Real Estate

7. Bader Najeeb
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 89K
If you’re interested in: Cooking

8. Rashed Al-Nuaimi
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 40K
If you’re interested in: Music


WhatsApp says working with India’s Reliance Jio to curb fake news menace

The WhatsApp messaging application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 September 2018
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WhatsApp says working with India’s Reliance Jio to curb fake news menace

  • More than 30 people have died this year in mob violence triggered by vitriolic messages on social media and WhatsApp, according to unofficial estimates, and police have previously told Reuters that minorities have been targeted

MUMBAI: Facebook’s WhatsApp is working closely with Reliance Jio to spread awareness of false messages, weeks after the Indian telecoms operator opened up the messaging service to tens of millions of customers using its cheap Internet-enabled phone.
Jio this month gave its more than 25 million JioPhone customers, many of them first-time Internet users, access to WhatsApp at a time when the messaging service is battling false and incendiary texts and videos circulating on its platform.
Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, launched the JioPhone last year at a refundable deposit of 1,500 rupees ($20.60). The device is Internet enabled but didn’t initially allow the use of WhatsApp or have several popular smartphone features.
All new users of the JioPhone get educational material that tells them about spotting a forwarded WhatsApp message and encourages them to share messages thoughtfully, WhatsApp spokesman Carl Woog told Reuters.
“We are working closely with Jio to continue our education campaign for WhatsApp users,” Woog said.
In India’s smaller towns and villages, deep-seated prejudices, often based on caste and religion, and cut-price mobile data can aggravate the so-called fake news problem. Such regions are a key market for cheap devices such as the JioPhone.
More than 30 people have died this year in mob violence triggered by vitriolic messages on social media and WhatsApp, according to unofficial estimates, and police have previously told Reuters that minorities have been targeted in some remote and rural regions.
That has prompted New Delhi to call on WhatsApp to take immediate action to “end this menace.”
WhatsApp has already taken some steps to quell the rise of fake news. It has launched print and radio ad campaigns to educate users and introduced new features on the app including limiting message forward as well as the labelling of forwarded messages.
It has also partnered with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), a New Delhi-based non-profit organization, to spread digital literacy in India’s towns and cities.
DEF will host a workshop in the eastern Indian city of Ranchi this week, WhatsApp’s Woog said.
WhatsApp also plans to expand its outreach program to existing JioPhone users.
Reliance Jio did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
With more than 200 million users, India is a key market for WhatsApp but one where it has had to delay the official launch of its payments services due to the country’s push on data localization.
WhatsApp is currently looking for an India chief and a policy head for the country.
It last month appointed a grievance officer for Indian users at its Menlo Park, California headquarters, like other global tech firms whose grievance officers sit outside of India.
India has, however, said it will toughen up its laws including pushing US tech giants to have their grievance officers in India.
($1 = 72.8000 Indian rupees)