FEB 1, 2018:
The White Moose Café, a hotel in Dublin, Ireland, has banned YouTubers and Instagram stars after 22-year-old influencer Elle Darby asked for a five-night free stay. You might think her email reads like any brand pitch: ‘I work as a social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty and travel based.’ She then quotes her social-media reach – over 87k subscribers on YouTube, plus 76k Instagram followers – before asking for accommodation in exchange for promotion and referencing recent and similar collaborations.
But the hotel’s owner, Paul Stenson, was not impressed, and posted his response directly to the hotel’s public Facebook wall: ‘Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure… If I let you stay here in return for a feature in a video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room?’ He then concludes: ‘P.S. The answer is no.’
Even though Stenson had attempted to retain Darby’s anonymity, she was soon identified and a backlash ensued. She uploaded a heartfelt response to YouTube, titled I Was Exposed (SO embarrassing), in which she attests: ‘I don’t feel like I did anything wrong.’ The hotel has since come under fire, which has led to its decision to ban ‘all bloggers’. On The White Moose Café Snapchat, Stenson said the controversy just ‘puts into question the authenticity of influencer marketing’ because ‘she would have spoken nicely about the hotel only because she was getting it for free.’
While an influencer ban is news to us, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a ban on social media…
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Restaurants Turn Camera Shy
The New York Times reported in 2013: ‘A growing backlash has prompted not only dirty looks from nearby diners but also creative measures… and even some outright photo bans.’ The restaurants range from Momofuku Ko and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare to high-end places like Fat Duck.
To ban or not to ban: Teachers grapple with forcing students to disconnect from technology
The Washington Post explained this month: ‘Since fall 2016, the communications department at California State University at Dominguez Hills has banned smartphones, laptops and other personal technology in every classroom – with grade deductions for violations.’ Why? It’s part of a crackdown on what they call ‘digital distraction, an issue that, for many teachers, has graduated from a nuisance to a serious threat to learning.’
The Countries That Block Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
And of course, around the world, some social-media networks are banned entirely due to political censorship: Turkey, China, Iran, Vietnam, Pakistan, North Korea and Eritrea are ‘reportedly blocking at least one’, wrote Ad Week in 2014.
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