Obtaining an ethical self-brand is not of importance for many content online influencers. The Youtube community drama which focuses on youtubers facing backlash for racial views, creates blurry lines for platforms that should be made to uphold responsible and brand worthy material.
The biggest social media marketing businesses come with responsibility, and sites such as Twitter, Facebook,Tumblr, and Instagram allow users to express themselves in explicit and abstract ways. In the era of technology, communication has made strangers feel like they are sitting across the dinner table from their favorite content creators.
Youtube is a video sharing website for people to upload entertaining content for family, friends, and now fans. This social media platform has been around for 13 years, but now the site has exploded with ads on every other video and youtubers who promote brands that lead to sponsorships for the biggest companies in the world.
Aesthetics and personality all tie-in to create a certain image for the influencer so that their videos and other social media outlets cultivate a platform that is marketable.
Beauty gurus, someone who instructs people on make-up products and how to apply beauty cosmetics, will present themselves similar to what their product represents by sharing beauty tips, providing giveaways, and creating their own makeup line that is suitable for their fanbase.
Laura Ann Lee is a make-up artist with well over 4 million subscribers on Youtube. Lee was able to maintain a professional platform up until her fans resurfaced Twitter posts from 2012 that were extremely offensive and racist.
Lee uploaded an apology video indirectly stating the offensive tweets and displayed brief examples as to why she felt comfortably saying racist comments, such as, “I can’t believe I didn’t see the pain behind that kind of tweet and that kind of behavior.” The video was not quite what fans wanted to hear and it created an uproar within the Youtube community.
Each creator has a different audience to entertain and it is their personality that ultimately brings them the money and fame. No one expects for their past to be brought up for the whole world to see, but it does cause concern because fans begin to build a personal relationship with their favorite youtubers due to the intimacy of their content.
The racism scandal does not just fall on Lee’s back. Youtubers like Jeffree Star, Manny MUA, and Shane Dawson have all come out with apology videos for making racist videos and comments on social media that were discovered by fans. The approach to these apology videos are not only for mending hurt feelings, but to protect the face of the beauty industry.
According to Statista, the statistic portal for studies and social media sources, 88 billion users tune into beauty content on Youtube as of 2017. The cosmetic industry makes it easy for beauty gurus on youtube to promote their brand by promoting makeup tutorials showcasing all the brands products to brand giveaways.
Statista also showed that in 2018 makeup artists contributed to the industry far more than any magazine or beauty commercial in 2018. Beauty artists on Youtube are a part of a bigger picture and that means ethics should stand with their platform.
ColourPop, BoxyCharm, Morphe, and other brands have removed Laura Lee from their websites.
Consumers watch the beauty videos to see if the product is worth buying and they also watch the videos to get to know the person who is promoting the product. Ethics should be the utmost important factor in considering brand worthy material on Youtube.
In Cosmetic Design, Ethisphere institute executive director Alex Brigham said, “A strong ethical foundation is a competitive advantage, and L’Oreal recognizes the important role corporate responsibility plays in improving its bottom line.”
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