Molly Mae got fined, but those of us in the Creator industry, need to take the blame

ASA Ruling on Molly-Mae Hague

I have nothing but admiration for Molly Mae and other Influencers who earn their living on the Social Networks. I am a hard worker but I could not do it. The ‘always on’ pressure and glare of the continual spotlight is immense. You need a strength of purpose to continually communicate and share the inner workings of your life that are needed to keep fans engaged.  The rewards can be immense and there are many companies and professional advisors that help their, typically young, charges take advantage of the opportunities they have. 

When I saw that Molly Mae had been fined for not administering an Instagram competition correctly I was not surprised but I knew it would not be her fault. 

Push has been managing consumer interactions and transactions (millions and millions of records) for over a decade. We’ve worked with Record Companies, TV Studios, Publishers and Film Studios and latterly have found ourselves working with many leading Creators. 

It is not surprising that the Creator industry, lawyers excepted, lags in it’s understanding of the importance of privacy, data collection, user rights and related issues. It is a young industry with many UK Creators growing  followers and subscribers by mimicking the viral techniques they see in America.  They see creators running massive giveaways and think that they can do the same, totally unaware that the laws in the UK are different to those in the U.S.A. As they start out growing their audience they are ‘under the radar’ and, for the most part, are not big enough to get the attention of the ASA and ICO. It therefore follows that, as they start to earn significant revenues,  they will keep on doing the same thing, until advised otherwise. 

Some of the practices we see are very similar to those happening in the early use of social media in the music industry – likes were ‘chased’ at the expense of everything else. I even sat in a meeting with 10 Product Managers who all stated that they valued a FB like over a direct consumer email address so ‘why bother running any direct marketing’. That is definitely not the case now. The end result of these practices was  Facebook and other networks closing down the ability to run any competitions or  data capture initiatives that prioritised the gaining of followers above true interaction. 

If the industry does not get a grip on it and start promoting good behaviour we will find restrictions increase on what is allowable. Then we all lose.

Whilst Push leverage international standards to manage risk (e.g our ISO27001 and PCI qualifications) we can’t just rely on these mechanics – its essential we invest in educating the Creators we work with by demonstrating the risk/reward in an open dialogue rather than a headless ‘land grab’ for followers and subscribers.

When we have this discourse we focus on  good practice principles with which they should consider their fan interactions. For example: .

  1. Respect that the use of that data comes with obligations, breaking those obligations harms fans in the short term and us all in the long term. “Consent is King”
  2. Just because it is viral it does not mean it is good, incorrect viral promotions undermine  the power of the very viral effect you are trying to take advantage of. Fans get tired, and untrusting. Think about combining this with direct marketing to the individuals.
  3. Make sure that you have proper terms and conditions, can keep records and retrace your steps should questions be asked in the future. Keep them up to date!

Simon Scott

10.3.21

[email protected]