Expect your favorite influencer to get suspended this 2020

Influencer

Influencer.

It has become near impossible to have any reasonable conversation about marketing, advertising or media without referencing the influencer. The term didn’t exist a decade ago, and the people who could have been described as influencers then were already powerful with a circle of influence and the approval of gate keepers. Today’s influencer market however, bears no resemblance to that time. Impressions, follower counts and conversions are the currency by which today’s influencers gauge their relevance and keeping those metrics has led to some shady behaviour.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become completely dominated by bots (a term for automated accounts that mimic human interactions), doctored engagement and fake followers which distorts the ability of the platforms to offer realistic data on consumer habits. But things are about to change.

These are screenshots from a recent announcement from Twitter, announcing changes to the platforms rules of engagement. Not changes per say, but a renewed commitment to enforce many of the platform’s already existing rules on acceptable use of its properties. With spamming trends started in Nigeria by pioneer influencer @Tweetoracle and popularized by accounts like the original @Questioner account, tactics like using outrage to fuel engagement, hijacking trends and hashtags to promote unrelated content and Tweetdecking have all become mainstream. With each generation of influencers, the tactics have been become more overt, more desperate, more aggressive. Users have even gone as far as leaking sex tapes of other users without consent as a tool to attain quick virality, often at great detriment to the person targeted.

Their actions have however, triggered push back. It has become more common for users to report accounts for spamming, stalking or targeted harassment. These reports have first of all, drawn Twitter’s attention to its Nigerian audience and provided the data for Twitter to find and punish people who default on its rules by providing them contextual information about how cultural peculiarities might inform what people consider sensitive or not.

The recent suspension of current influencers @ThePamilerin and @_Mbah are an ongoing purge that has affected hundreds of Nigerian influencers and will affect hundreds more as Twitter and other social media networks crackdown on influencers who circumvent its rules to keep their pockets stuffed.

While this might be bad for influencers in the short run, it is great for the platforms and for clients. Twitter and other social media networks will get better data with which optimize their platforms and clients will smaller but more useful engagement for their advertising dollar. And eventually influencers will adjust and begin the tasking process of building an organic audience base.

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