James Charles’ underage sexting scandal lands makeup brand Morphe in hot water

James Charles
Influencer James Charles recently addressed allegations that he was having inappropriate conversations with minors on Snapchat.

  • James Charles recently addressed accusations that he had flirtatious conversations with minors on Snapchat.
  • He apologized for being ‘reckless’ and said he was unaware that they were underage when the interactions began.
  • Makeup brand Morphe is being criticized for not speaking out against Charles and continuing to promote his products.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Makeup brand Morphe is being called out by consumers and influencers for staying silent following a video from YouTube beauty guru James Charles, in which he addressed accusations that he’s had sexual interactions with underage fans over Snapchat.

On Thursday April 1, Charles – who is one of the biggest beauty influencers in the world, with more than 25 million YouTube subscribers and 36 million TikTok followers – posted a video acknowledging that he had sexually charged conversations with two 16-year-old boys who he added on Snapchat. He said that at the time he believed them to be 18 and that he blocked them once he became aware of their age.

A number of similar accusations against Charles have been made in recent weeks, primarily in the form of viral TikTok videos posted by the boys who say they had flirtatious or sexual conversations with Charles. In his apology video, Charles said he had been “reckless” and that he needed to “take accountability for my actions and most importantly apologize to the people that were affected by them.”

Now, pressure is mounting on brands that have previously aligned themselves with Charles to speak out and distance themselves from him. Followers are singling out Morphe, a makeup company that has been closely associated with Charles since it released a hugely successful eyeshadow palette in collaboration with him in November 2018. Morphe has since launched a mini version of the palette, as well as two brush sets in collaboration with Charles. One of the brush collections, which is priced at $149, is currently sold out in the US; the rest of the products are still available to purchase on Morphe’s website.

On Sunday, internet reporter Def Noodles, who has close to 100,000 Twitter followers and has amplified the accusers’ stories since they began to emerge, tagged Morphe in a tweet which laid out the accusations against Charles.

It has now been retweeted and quote-tweeted more than 300 times. People asked why Charles still has a platform and encouraged others to stop supporting him. A number of users also tagged Morphe, as well as Nickelodeon, which produces the Kids Choice Awards, which recognized Charles this year. Some added that they will no longer support Morphe as a result of its silence, and drama YouTuber Truth Sleuth, who has more than 50,000 subscribers, is among those who have made videos calling the brand out.

It follows similar criticism from Def Noodles over a post on Morphe’s Instagram on Saturday 3 April which promoted the James Charles palette. Fellow influencer Trisha Paytas, who has used her platform of 1.4 million YouTube subscribers and 5.6 million TikTok followers to frequently criticize Charles, also tweeted to denounce Morphe, calling its continued association with Charles “embarrassing.”

Morphe has yet to address the allegations against Charles or his statements in his apology video. On the brand’s website, a page entitled Morphe x James Charles says: “Step into the crazy-colorful world of our Morphe Babe, James Charles. It’s so, so good!”

“Morphe Babe” is the term used by the brand for loyal customers and influencers it works with. Morphe is known for being one of the first beauty brands to heavily work with online content creators, both in the form of product collaborations and also affiliate programs, which allow influencers to make a small percentage of the revenue of each sale which comes via their unique code. This form of monetization has been criticized for potentially encouraging influencers to promote brands they are affiliated with over other products.

This is not the first time Morphe has found itself facing criticism for its links to controversial influencers. Just last year the brand cut ties with YouTuber Jeffree Star, whose makeup brand was sold in Morphe’s stores, amid controversy following the release of his makeup collaboration with fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson. Dawson and Star – two of the biggest names on the platform with a combined YouTube following of more than 35 million people – became the focus of intense scrutiny last year, much of which focussed on Dawson’s past behavior in YouTube videos, which ranged from using blackface to making jokes about pedophilia.

Insider has reached out to Morphe for comment on its ties to James Charles and has yet to hear back.

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 creators and a lawyer share how social media bans work, and the best way to safeguard your account

fitness influencer
Accidentally playing copyrighted music in the background of your video can put your account at risk.

  • When influencers or creators are banned for known or unknown reasons, it can impact their income.
  • Three creators and a lawyer shared their experiences with social media bans.
  • They advised avoiding using third-party content and being cautious while livestreaming.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Getting banned on social media isn’t just a nuisance for influencers and creators. Oftentimes these platforms are a huge part of their livelihood – and the longer they’re unable to create content and share it with their audience, the more money they lose out on.

Bans are often instituted by a platform for reasons including harassment, bullying, or copyright or policy violations, but they can also happen for unknown reasons or by accident.

They’re also surprisingly common: Twitter suspended roughly 925,000 accounts during the first half of 2020 alone, and, in June 2019, Instagram conducted a “meme page purge,” removing accounts with a combined reach of 30 million followers. Those pages’ creators lost out on tens of thousands of dollars in placements, sponsorships, and advertising income.

Three creators and a lawyer shared how to avoid getting removed from a platform.

Know the risks of using third-party materials

A 30-year-old influencer who goes by the name Produced By Blanco has been making music professionally since 2018. He’s worked with artists signed to major labels including Atlantic, Roc Nation, Sony, Columbia, Republic, and Universal, has 12,500 followers on Instagram, and has driven millions of views on YouTube.

© Produced By Blanco
Produced By Blanco.

Blanco told Insider he avoids terms-of-use violations, like sharing unauthorized content, by only sharing his own content or content made by artists he’s worked with.

“It’s the safest route,” Eric Lauritsen, a Los Angeles-based music industry attorney who’s represented clients who’ve been banned from platforms like Twitch and TikTok, told Insider. But creators don’t have to follow Blanco’s all-or-nothing approach as long as they understand the risks.

“To be safe, make it a policy not to use material owned by third parties,” he said. “But, if you intend to use third-party material anyway, you may be OK doing it, but at a minimum, accept the fact that a third-party will claim the revenue or your content is at risk of removal. Some parties may go further though and may want to pursue a claim against you for statutory damages,” he added, citing the landmark Napster case in 2000, where Metallica sued for $100,000 in damages per song illegally downloaded on the site.

Most social media platforms treat the use of copyrighted material the same, whether it’s by accident (for example, someone else’s song playing in the background of your livestream) or on purpose (like blatantly stealing it). And saying “no copyright infringement” won’t protect you, either.

Control as much of your content as possible

Matthew Pettito, 18, has 3.8 million followers on TikTok, 192,000 followers on Instagram, 26,000 followers on Twitch, and is sponsored by energy-drink company Bang Energy. He first downloaded TikTok in July 2019 and said he had one million followers by June 2020.

© Matthew Petitto
Matthew Petitto.

He began livestreaming on TikTok to start making money through the TikTok Creator Program (per the Creator terms, you need at least 1,000 followers to be eligible to monetize your livestream). While hosting a TikTok livestream one night, Pettito was also on Omegle, a free app that facilitates chats with strangers online.

“There are no community guidelines, so it’s not uncommon for people on the website to be saying or doing vulgar things,” Pettito told Insider. “I was on track to make $1,000 that night, and all of a sudden, I was removed from the app and banned for 48 hours.” He lost the $1,000 due to the vulgar comment being picked up on his livestream.

Pettito recommended other influencers use caution while streaming live “because you can’t edit or take back anything,” he said. Some users even record livestream content and upload it to other platforms, so whatever you say or do can take on a life of its own – for better or worse.

Consider hiring an attorney if you have a significant amount of money at stake

Dakota Elder, 27, had his YouTube account banned in 2019 and his TikTok account banned in 2020. At the time, he said he had 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and 500,000 followers on TikTok.

© Dakota Elder
Dakota Elder.

He told Insider he still doesn’t know why either account was banned and didn’t hear back from either platform when he asked why. Elder was on track to make about $2,500 in revenue the following month from both accounts.

“There’s going to be a lot of variation depending on the terms of use of the site and the user’s activity before the ban,” Lauritsen said about why platforms may not reveal the reason behind the ban. “The site may not even be obligated to provide a reason.”

Elder now has over 4.4 million followers on his new TikTok profile but chose not to recreate his YouTube channel. Despite being permanently banned from both, he created the new TikTok account by just signing up again.

“Making the new account was smooth as butter,” he said. “I had no problems, and I haven’t had an issue since the first video on the new account.” It was easy to sign back up again, he said, although he couldn’t access the old account, followers, or content.

Taking the revenue hit was likely the most cost-effective option for Elder, but for creators with a significant amount of money at stake, consulting an attorney could be worth it.

“I have seen scenarios where clients had music taken down from streaming services, reached out, did not receive a response, then hired me to follow up and I was able to get information,” Lauritsen said. “There is an extra air of legitimacy using an attorney to at least help get you more information.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Reddit-inspired bar in Tokyo caters to newbie investors where seasoned traders offer hot stock tips – and customers can try drinks like the ‘Margin Call’ and ‘Lehman Shock’

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  • An investing influencer has opened a bar that’s popular for stock-trading tips in Tokyo.
  • Many experienced traders visit, offering investment advice to those looking to grow their money.
  • It offers unique investing-themed drinks like the “Margin Call,” the “Lehman Shock,” and “Abenomics.”
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Tokyo now has a Reddit-inspired bar where seasoned traders provide newbie investors with trading tips, Bloomberg reported.

An investing influencer, who goes by the name Satoshi Uehara on Twitter, opened “Stock Pickers” in early March after a crowd-funding campaign raked in more than $50,000, or about six times the target.

The bar’s PR manager, Riki Yamauchi, told Bloomberg many novice investors visit the bar to meet Uehara and other experienced traders to gain an understanding of investing and stock valuations.

“People’s mentality is changing — you really have to think about how to structure your wealth,” Yamauchi, who is a financial professional himself, said. He said many youngsters have become more open to investing after Japan’s economy saw 30 years of near-stagnation.

Millions of retail investors accounted for a large part of stock-market activity during the pandemic, when people were stuck at home and began exploring easy-to-navigate online trading platforms.

At the bar, there are books on value investing and advice from legendary investor Warren Buffett. A model cannon used to symbolize the central bank’s asset-buying capacity can be found in one part of the bar, where a sign states: “Don’t fight the NIPPON GINKO (the Bank of Japan).”

Customers can also order investing-themed drinks, according to Bloomberg. The “Margin Call” – made with vodka, grenadine, and Campari – is said to have a biting taste meant to stir up bitter feelings traders may experience when summoned with the brokerage demand. The “Lehman Shock” is a punchy drink named after the investment bank at the centre of the global financial crisis. The “Abenomics” – made with cherry blossom syrup and grapefruit juice – is said to be less heavy than investors would hope.

“Stock Pickers” is not just popular among the newbie investors. It’s also had many visits from institutional investors. That may be because of Reddit and GameStop, according to Yamauchi. “People really care about what retail is thinking,” he said.

The bar opened when Tokyo was still in a state of COVID-19 emergency, but is able to function under shortened operating hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A behind-the-scenes look at how Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge investigated rape allegations against a member of David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad

Kat Tenbarge
Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge.

  • Insider is taking you behind the scenes of our best stories with our series The Inside Story.
  • This week we’re spotlighting Insider digital-culture reporter Kat Tenbarge, who made big waves with her investigation into rape allegations made against a member of YouTube star David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad.
  • You can read Tenbarge’s full story here.

The YouTube star David Dobrik has 18.7 million subscribers and lucrative sponsorship deals that have allowed the 24-year-old to purchase a $9.5 million mansion in Los Angeles.

In an investigation published last week by Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge, Hannah (not her real name), who was featured on Dobrik’s YouTube channel, said she was raped by a member of his friend group, known as the Vlog Squad, in 2018.

Following the report, Dobrik published an apology video in which he said that consent was “super, super important.”

In the wake of Tenbarge’s investigation, brands including Dollar Shave Club, EA Sports, and Door Dash have cut ties with Dobrik. On Sunday, Dobrik also stepped down from the board of Dispo, a photo app he cofounded.

Here’s a look at how Tenbarge broke the story.

You cover influencers and follow the Vlog Squad closely. How did you come across Hannah’s story?

I started digging into the Vlog Squad after two former members spoke out about toxicity in the group, from calling it a cult to accusations of sexual assault. While reaching out to people who were involved in the group, I had conversations with other reporters who have covered the Vlog Squad. One of those conversations unearthed a tip from a couple of years ago about a woman who said she was raped by a member of the Vlog Squad. I was put in contact with her, and we started talking. Eventually her story would become Hannah’s claims.

How long did it take for the story to come together, and what was the hardest part of reporting it?

From my first conversation with Hannah, it took just under two weeks for this story to get published. Sometimes investigations take months, but part of what made this story so fast-paced was the timing. There was a growing online backlash to the claims that were already brought forward publicly by former Vlog Squad members, and I wanted to make sure Hannah’s story came out at the peak of that interest.

The hardest part was making sure the most crucial element of the story – the rape accusation – was kept under wraps. I spoke with top YouTubers during the reporting process, and I didn’t want the claims to leak ahead of time.

Were there legal hurdles you needed to navigate?

Yes. This is my third time investigating rape accusations, and the most difficult part often involves bringing those claims to the accused and dealing with pushback. This time, we didn’t get a response from the man who was accused of rape. But we did hear back from David Dobrik’s lawyers, and part of the reporting process was responding to the issues they took with our story. Ultimately they provided a statement to us, which we included in the story.

Your investigation was picked up widely, both on YouTube and on mainstream celebrity sites like People and Vulture. What feedback did you get from readers?

The response was, fortunately, overwhelmingly positive. As I said, timing is everything with a story like this. If it had run a few years ago, at the height of the Vlog Squad’s popularity, the response would likely have been very different. But readers were already uncomfortable with what former Vlog Squad members were claiming. Hannah’s story cemented the idea that the environment Dobrik created was dangerous. This time, an innocent bystander got caught up in that.

It also helped that Hannah and her friends who spoke with me had plenty of evidence to back up their claims. The text Hannah sent Dom Zeglaitis – the man she accused of raping her – in particular struck a chord with readers. A lot of survivors of sexual assault or rape said they felt this piece resonated with them.

Influencers like the Vlog Squad and the Paul Brothers continue to make millions through their fratty “bro culture” videos and podcasts, even following the #MeToo movement. Why do you think this type of content is still so popular with viewers?

One reason is that a lot of their viewers skew young. Kids, tweens, and teenagers often have different standards than adults for what qualifies as entertaining or admirable. Young viewers may think it’s impressive to have sex with a lot of women because they’re not emotionally mature enough to consider the perspective of someone like Hannah, who was objectified throughout the video. But it’s not just young people who consume misogynistic content, and not every viewer of the Paul Brothers or Vlog Squad likes the content they’re seeing.

A side effect of YouTube’s click-driven culture is that even negative comments and dislikes boost watch numbers and watch times. It’s a phenomenon that has led to a lot of controversial people finding profit and fame online, even if they’re widely looked down upon.

Do you think there is a culture among YouTubers to do almost anything for views and clicks? Where are the boundaries when it comes to creating compelling content and exploitation?

There is undeniably a culture of pushing moral, legal, and ethical boundaries for clicks. We see this all the time, from invasive family vlogs to dangerous pranks and stunts. YouTube as a company isn’t big enough to moderate every single piece of content that gets posted, and it doesn’t have rules that govern every single form of exploitation. So what ends up happening most of the time is that the boundary and consequences are decided by the audience.

When Logan Paul filmed a dead body, the mainstream media condemned him, and YouTube followed suit by temporarily demonetizing his channel, which prevented him from making money from advertising on his videos. But when there isn’t a huge backlash that results in a loss of income, influencers learn they can get away with harmful clickbait, even if it seriously hurts people.

What are the biggest themes to watch right now on the influencers beat?

Every beat boils down to power – who has it, and how they use it. Right now I’m looking at a landscape of influencers who have fame, money, and a unique position of power over their fan bases. There aren’t as many mainstream gatekeepers when it comes to online content, and as a culture we’re starting to recognize the consequences of that. The major theme I’m looking out for is abuse of power in relationships between influencers and their fans, their industry, and each other.

I’m also exploring how social-media platforms are manipulated by users, and the responsibility platforms have as publishers. There is so much left to be uncovered on this beat because this industry operates in the limelight. It’s everywhere, but few people are looking past the shiny superstardom to see what goes on in the shadows.

You can read Tenbarge’s full story on sexual-assault allegations against a Vlog Squad member here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How much YouTube pays influencers for 100,000, 1 million, and 150 million views, according to top creators

Natalie Barbu
YouTube star Natalie Barbu.

  • YouTube’s Partner Program allows influencers to earn money off their channels by placing ads within videos. 
  • Google places these ads and pays a creator based on factors like a video’s watch time, length, and viewer demographic.
  • Here’s how much YouTube pays creators for a single video with 100,000, 1 million, and 150 million views, according to top influencers.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.

This is the latest installment of Business Insider’s YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.

How much money YouTube pays creators for a single video depends on a number of factors, but the number of views it gets is a big one.

Creators with 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours are eligible to have their videos monetized with ads by joining YouTube’s Partner Program. These ads are filtered by Google, and how much money a creator earns depends on the video’s watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics – among other factors.

Some top creators have ad-placement strategies to maximize their earnings.

For instance, Andrei Jikh, a personal-finance influencer, told Insider that he earns more money by including midroll ads, which can run in videos lasting over 8 minutes. They can be skippable or non skippable, and creators can place them manually or have them automatically placed by YouTube.

There are also things creators can avoid to try and boost earnings.

Some videos that contain swearing or copyrighted music are flagged by YouTube and demonetized, earning hardly any money for the creator (or none at all). One of YouTube’s biggest stars, David Dobrik, said in an interview that he earned about $2,000 a month from YouTube directly, despite his weekly videos gaining an average 10 million views. He earns most of his money through brand sponsorships instead, like his partnership with SeatGeek.

Here’s how much money YouTube paid creators for a video with 100,000, 1 million, and 150 million views, according to top YouTube creators.

This article has been updated to reflect new YouTuber earnings. 

100,000 views – between $500 to $2,500 (5 creators)

Natalie Barbu
Natalie Barbu.

How much money a single YouTube video with 100,000 views makes from Google-placed ads depends on the content of the video and the audience who watches. But even some YouTube stars don’t realize this.

Natalie Barbu started her YouTube channel while she was in high school about eight years ago.

She’d post videos about fashion and beauty as an after-school hobby, long before she knew she could be earning any money from the platform, she told Insider

Now she runs a channel with 292,000 subscribers and posts weekly videos about her day-to-day life experiences.

Barbu has more than 20 videos with over 100,000 views uploaded to her YouTube channel. On average, her videos earn between $200 and $500, she told Insider in February 2020. 

YouTube pays Barbu through direct deposit once a month. After she receives the money, she will save a portion for taxes and she has a separate bank account where she keeps her tax money.

We spoke to five YouTube creators — Natalie Barbu (lifestyle), Marko Zlatic (personal finance), Ruby Asabor (business), Erica Boucher (business), and Roberto Blake (tech) — who broke down what they generally earn from a video with around 100,000 views. 

When Asabor was first starting out, she thought everyone made the same rate.

But then she found out she was making more money from YouTube than a friend of hers who had more subscribers. Asabor realized that her finance- and business-related videos, which target an older audience, were more favorable to Google’s advertisers. These advertisers pay more than others because there are fewer videos on YouTube that attract their target audience.

Read the full post: 

How much money a YouTube video with 100,000 views makes, according to 5 creators

1 million views – between $3,400 and $40,000 (6 creators)

Jade Darmawangsa
Jade Darmawangsa.

A video with 1 million YouTube views doesn’t always make the same amount of money and can vary considerably depending on the creator.

Insider spoke with six YouTube influencers with very different channels — SemideCoco, Jade Darmawangsa, Marina Mogilko, Kevin David, Austen Alexander, and Shelby Church — on how much they earned from videos with over 1 million views (and below 1.5 million views).

These creators all said that enabling every ad option, which includes banner, preroll, and midroll ads, had helped with their earnings. 

Read the full post: 

How much money a YouTube video with 1 million views makes, according to 6 creators

150 million views – $97,000 (Paul Kousky)

Paul Kousky
Paul Kousky.

Paul Kousky films videos about Nerf guns for YouTube and has 14 million subscribers. 

He told Insider that he earns a majority of his revenue through ads on his YouTube channel, PDK Films.

Kousky’s highest-earning video is one he posted in February 2018 titled “Nerf War: Tank Battle,” which went viral worldwide six months later, he said. 

By the time the video had hit 150 million views (it continues to rack up views), he earned $97,000 in AdSense revenue, according to screenshots of his creator dashboard viewed by Insider in December 2019. 

When Kousky first uploaded the video, he said it had about 50% US viewers, which is his target demographic. After it went viral, the US audience dropped and was about 5% as of December.

On average, the view duration for this video was around four to five minutes. That put the video at about a 45% average watch time, which is considered high for YouTube. This is an important metric because a high view duration lets YouTube’s automated algorithm know that a video is performing well, and that can help a video get picked up and recommended to viewers.

Read the full post here:

How much money a YouTube video with 150 million views makes, according to a top creator

Read the original article on Business Insider

Influencers react to an Instagram test that removed public ‘like’ counts

Instagram app

Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Insider Influencers, our weekly rundown on the business of influencers, creators, and social-media platforms. Sign up for the newsletter here.

In this week’s edition:

An Instagram test gave a glimpse of a world without public ‘like’ counts and some influencers say it would be better

Many users found out what Instagram looks like without “like” counts on Tuesday after the app accidentally widely expanded a test to remove the public displays of the number of likes.

The wide rollout was because of a bug, but signals Instagram is still testing removing like counts.

Sydney Bradley broke down how a change like this could impact the influencer industry: 

  • Seeing the number of likes is a constant source of competition for many creators, influencer Andrea Pion Pierre said.

  • Influencer Khadijah Lacey-Taylor said removing like counts could be an opportunity for creators to look more holistically at how engaging and enjoyable their content is.

  • A downside: for emerging creators who’ve quickly gained a following but aren’t on brands’ radars yet, their number of likes is one of the few ways to show influence (before sending screenshots of metrics).

Read the full post with more reactions here.

Instagram takes on Clubhouse by letting up to 4 speakers livestream together and make money from tips and brand deals

instagram live clubhouse feature

Instagram has expanded its livestreaming feature, which now allows up to four speakers.

The update comes as the live-discussion app Clubhouse surges in popularity.

Sydney reported on what the new update entails and how it could impact creators’ businesses:

  • Instagram is expanding livestreaming by doubling Instagram Live’s capacity to four speakers at once with the introduction of “Live Rooms.”

  • The host can add or remove any of three speakers throughout a livestream, similar to how moderators maintain the “stage” on Clubhouse.

  • Creators will also be able to use “Badges,” Instagram’s tipping feature, in these rooms. And there’s brand deal potential.

Read the full post here.

How influencers are using a new affiliate-marketing tool to text message their fans and drive sales


Social-media influencers are using text messages to connect with fans and drive affiliate-marketing sales.

Affiliate marketing platform MagicLinks is testing a tool, called Text2Shop, that lets influencers mass send shoppable links to fans.

Sydney and I reported on how influencers are using this new tool:

  • Text2Shop was created by MagicLinks in partnership with the text-marketing startup Community.

  • College student Nazjaa Hughson has driven over $15,000 in sales since she started using Text2Shop with an average conversion rate of 6%. 

  • Hughson wants her fans to feel like they are getting “exclusive content,” different from what’s on her social channels. She dedicates time every now and then to directly chat back and forth with her followers.

Check out the full post here.

17 YouTube stars break down how much they get paid per month for their videos

Maya Lee

Creators who are a part of YouTube’s Partner Program can monetize their YouTube videos with ads.

Factors like whether a video went viral, or whether the audience that watches their content is valuable to advertisers, will determine what a creator earns per paycheck.

Sydney and I spoke with 17 influencers on how much they’d earned in a month on YouTube, ranging from $82 to $141,356. 

Check out the full post here.

More creator industry coverage from Insider:

This week from Insider’s digital culture team:

David Dobrik Jason Nash

David Dobrik talked about a prank that a former Vlog Squad member now calls sexual assault in an old podcast episode

In resurfaced podcast audio, David Dobrik talked about a prank on Seth Francois.

Insider reporter Lindsay Dodgson reported that Francois now says he considers the incident, where Jason Nash kissed him, sexual assault.

In the clip, Dobrik confirms that Francois had no prior knowledge that he would be kissing Nash.

Read the full post here.

More on digital culture: 

jackie aina makeup

Here’s what else we’re reading: 

Subscribe to the newsletter here. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Snapchat doesn’t allow sponsored content on its TikTok rival, Spotlight

Cam Casey

Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Insider Influencers, our weekly rundown on the business of influencers, creators, and social-media platforms. Sign up for the newsletter here.

In this week’s edition:

But before we get started, I want to first introduce a new reporter on the business of influencers team, Molly Innes!

Molly is based in the UK and you can reach her at minnes@insider.com and on Twitter @molllyinnes. She will be covering all things related to influencer marketing.

Snapchat Spotlight

Snapchat’s flashy TikTok rival has lured creators with direct payments but has banned sponsored posts

Snapchat is paying millions of dollars to some creators who have high-performing posts on its new TikTok competitor, Spotlight.

This has caused renewed interest in the app from the creator community, which has historically been lukewarm on its potential as a money-making platform.

But creators have run into one big challenge already: sponsored posts are “not supported” by Spotlight.

Many influencers said they don’t believe Snapchat’s payments will last as a sustainable revenue source indefinitely, and question the feature’s longevity if Snap doesn’t integrate brands into it.

Sydney Bradley wrote about Snapchat’s monetization restrictions:

  • Besides sponsored posts, Spotlight also prohibits linking, a feature that could be used by creators to share affiliate links for commission.

  • Snap’s direct payment program was only guaranteed to last through the end of 2020, though it’s still going and no clear end date has been announced.

  • Industry insiders say the key to Spotlight’s success lies in creating a long-term ecosystem that allows creators to earn money. 

Read the full post on Spotlight here.

Have more information on Snapchat’s Spotlight feature? Email me: aperelli@insider.com.

A college YouTuber with 6,800 subscribers explains how much money she earns and her filming strategy

Meghan Pruitt

Meghan Pruitt is a college influencer on YouTube and she treats filming videos in her dorm room like a part-time job.

Pruitt is part of a trend of YouTubers getting subscribers by sharing their college experiences (move-in videos are particularly popular).

I spoke with Pruitt who shared details on her YouTube business as a nano influencer: 

  • Her YouTube channel earned $1,920 in 2020 with 744,000 views. 

  • Over the last three months, her channel has earned between $82 (February) and $505 (December) in ad revenue. 

  • Her earnings fluctuate seasonally, with typically higher ad rates toward the end of the year.

Read more on her YouTube business here.

Meet the 8-person team building Dispo, YouTube star David Dobrik’s photo app that just relaunched and is reportedly valued at $200 million

Dispo team-- Alexis Ohanian, David Dobrik, and Dispo CEO Daniell Liss. Top left to right: Dobrik, Liss, Natalie Mariduena.  Bottom, left to to right: Regynald Augustin, Ohanian, Briana Hokanson
Alexis Ohanian, David Dobrik, and Dispo CEO Daniel Liss. Top left to right: Dobrik, Liss, Natalie Mariduena. Bottom, left to to right: Regynald Augustin, Ohanian, Briana Hokanson.

Social-media star David Dobrik just relaunched his photo-sharing platform, Dispo.

And it’s getting major attention in the tech world.

The app raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital at a valuation of about $200 million, Axios reported on Wednesday.

I spoke with the 8-person team of designers and engineers currently working on the app:

  • Recent hires include TJ Taylor, vice president of community, and Michael Shillinburg, designer and 3D animator.

  • The app is designed to mimic the experience of using a disposable camera, and users have to wait until 9 a.m. the next day to view a picture.

  • The Dispo team is currently working on new features like creating photo filters, and is looking to fill more roles to grow the team.

Read more on the team building Dispo here.

YouTube stars The Try Guys break into traditional TV with new Food Network production

The Try Guys
YouTube creators The Try Guys

YouTube creators The Try Guys are working on a new Food Network special to air on TV and Discovery Plus.

Dan Whateley wrote that Food Network is the latest legacy media company to hire social-media stars in a push to reach new audiences.

The project is based on the group’s YouTube series “Without a Recipe,” and they will travel to different restaurants and compete to cook menu items without looking at a recipe.

Read more about the new show here.

More creator industry coverage from Insider:

Industry updates:

Ernest_James_Founder and CEO Noire_Mgmt
Ernest James, CEO and founder of Noire Management.

A talent agency is launching a mentorship program for Black micro influencers

Noire Management, an agency that represents creators of color, is launching a mentorship program for 10 Black micro influencers.

Noire MGMT founder Ernest B. James partnered with Digital Brand Architects to build a program that would help address inequities in the influencer industry. 

Mentees will be provided with resources about understanding analytics, pitching brands, negotiating rates, and other key topics for building their businesses. 

Influencers with between 25,000 and 90,000 followers on any social-media platform and across content categories are eligible. The program launches in March. Apply here.

This week from Insider’s digital culture team:

doctors on clubhouse covid misinformation 4x3

Black doctors are being targeted on Clubhouse after trying to educate people about the COVID-19 vaccine

Doctors are using the Clubhouse app to encourage people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Insider reporter Moises Mendez II spoke with numerous doctors who said they were harassed and bullied after discussing the vaccine on Clubhouse. 

Black doctors in particular have faced substantial pushback, adding to the biases they already face.

Check out the full story here.

More on digital culture: 

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Seeking nominations for the top PR agents for YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram stars in 2021

David Dobrik
  • Insider is launching our second annual list of the top PR agents for social-media stars. 
  • We want to hear from you about who the top PR pros in the influencer industry are.
  • Please submit your nominations by February 26 and email sbradley@insider.com with any questions.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The biggest social-media stars often have an entire team behind them made up of managers, agents, and PR pros. 

While managers and agents are handling a lot of the behind-the-scenes negotiations and deals, it’s the PR agents who are out and about drumming up buzz for their clients.

From media appearances on television or in magazines to handling “bad press” moments like a scandal, PR pros are the ones hustling to maintain an influencer’s public presence.

And as the influencer industry has grown, traditional PR agencies have developed new teams and expertise in the digital landscape. For instance, Metro Public Relations, an agency based in Los Angeles and New York, represents internet celebrities like David Dobrik, who has about 26 million TikTok followers and over 18 million YouTube subscribers.

Metro PR helped Dobrik with one of his latest stunts: giving away five free Teslas in an effort to register voters in 2020. Behind the scenes of this campaign was his publicist, Megan Smith. Smith is a senior account executive at Metro PR and has worked with Dobrik since 2018, she told Insider in 2020. 

Metro PR and others like Align PR (which has represented internet stars like Emma Chamberlain) were among the PR agencies highlighted in Insider’s inaugural list of the top PR agents in the influencer industry last year. 

But who are the leading PR power players in 2021?

We are seeking nominations for the top PR pros and publicists who represent some of the biggest social-media influencers for Insider’s second annual list.

Please submit your nominations through this form by February 26, or enter the information below:

The list will be determined by Insider based on our reporting and the nominations that we receive.

For more on what this list will look like, check out our previous power lists on Insider:

Read the original article on Business Insider

Marques Brownlee details his business as a tech YouTuber and how he makes money on the platform

Marques Brownlee
Marques Brownlee.

  • Marques Brownlee, known as MKBHD online, has 13 million YouTube subscribers. 
  • Brownlee is a tech YouTube creator, and his videos include reviews on the latest smartphones, tech unboxings, and smartphone-camera tests.
  • Brownlee on a recent podcast discussed his business as a digital creator and how he makes money.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Marques Brownlee was saving up his allowance money in high school when he decided to launch a YouTube channel. 

The money he was saving up would help him buy a new laptop, where he could film and edit videos.

In 2009, he filmed his first tech-review video, which focused on the media-center remote that came with his new laptop. Now 12 years later, his channel has become one of the top tech channels on YouTube and has 13 million subscribers.

Brownlee’s videos on YouTube include reviews on the latest smartphones, tech unboxings, and smartphone-camera tests. He has interviewed top tech CEOs from Elon Musk, Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg.

To help run the day-to-day of his creator business, Brownlee signed with the talent agency WME, and he has a small team of motion graphics artists, cinematographers, and assistants. 

But, how does a digital creator on YouTube earn money? 

“Oh, this is the number one holiday family reunion question,” Brownlee told Nilay Patel in a recent episode of The Verge’s podcast “Decoder.”

Digital creators like Brownlee often have several revenue streams, as they typically don’t rely on just one form of income.

Read more: A 5-step guide to making the most money possible from YouTube video ads, with advice from top creators

For most YouTubers, their main source of revenue comes from the ads placed in their videos by Google.

“So, YouTube ads is the primary, fundamental way that YouTubers make money,” Brownlee said on the Verge podcast. “You upload a video, there’s ads somewhere on it or in it, and the YouTuber gets paid for the placement of those ads because they brought the eyeballs to the video.”

But YouTube ad rates fluctuate month to month, and at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, some YouTube creators saw a decline in their March earnings as advertisers pulled campaigns and lowered budgets. That is why most creators have several different streams of income that all connect back to their larger online business. 

Here is a breakdown of the main ways Brownlee makes money as a creator:


Google’s AdSense program

Creators who are part of YouTube’s Partner Program are able to make money from their YouTube channels by placing ads within a video. These ads are filtered through Google’s AdSense program.

To be accepted into YouTube’s Partner Program, creators must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours, and once they are in, their videos are monetized with ads filtered by Google. How much money a creator earns (called AdSense) depends on the video’s watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics, among other factors. YouTube also keeps 45% of the ad revenue, with the creator keeping the rest. 

“Generally, the fundamental building blocks of making money as a YouTuber, and for me, come from AdSense built into YouTube, sponsored integrations built into the videos and on the channel, and merch stuff, too,” Brownlee said on the Verge podcast.

Promoting brands through sponsorships 

Brownlee said on the Verge podcast that he also earns money by promoting brands in his YouTube videos. 

For mega YouTubers like Brownlee, brand deals are often negotiated with an agent or manager. 

“I negotiate the rate,” Brownlee said on the Verge podcast. “The contract is usually built by my agent. I work with WME. And so, their lawyers will look over the contract and negotiate the terms, so I’m not literally reading the contracts. That’s an arm I chopped off. I used to do that, too. They take their cut, obviously, for also bringing some of those contracts and companies to my inbox. But at the end of the day, if you could see the amount of stuff we say no to – it’s just like a constant flow of, ‘We want to be on the channel. We want to be in a video’ – to find the stuff that really makes sense. And then, that’s just me going, ‘Let’s see how we can make this work best.'”

Read more: 9 real media kit examples that influencers on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok use to get brand sponsorships

mkbhd marques brownlee

Selling branded merchandise 

Some influencers own a warehouse from which they ship T-shirts, hoodies, and other branded accessories, and then they will sell those online through an e-commerce platform, like Shopify.

But influencers don’t have to run their own merch operation to take advantage of the business opportunity. Many, like Brownlee, partner with a company (he sells merch through the site Cotton Bureau.)

“For example, we have a merch store. You can buy apparel that has our cool designs on it,” Brownlee said on the Verge podcast.

When a revenue stream dips or advertising budgets dry out, merch sales can make up for a loss in revenue.

Read more: The top 7 merchandise companies helping creators on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok earn money without relying on ads

Read the original article on Business Insider

Influencers are being recruited to fight dangerous conspiracy theories about COVID-19 as people shun experts’ warnings

covid-19 information fitness influencer
Shauna Harrison

  • Data scientists at Public Good Projects are partnering with a “network of micro-influencers” to spread facts on COVID-19 and vaccines on social media. 
  • Public health officials worry misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on social media could prevent Americans from getting the shots.
  • Just 129 accounts are predominantly responsible for misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on Twitter, according to peer-reviewed PGP data.
  • Everyday social media users and micro-influencers have been sharing true, scientific vaccine information to help combat misinformation. 
  • Experts say people will trust those who aren’t politicians or health experts to get public health information online.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Fitness instructor Shauna Harrison’s Instagram feed consists of simple workout routines and yoga stretches she shares with her 84,000 followers.

Occasionally, though, Harrison, who has a doctorate in public health, will share photos of herself wearing masks that say “Talk Data to Me” with captions relaying the importance of staying home and social distancing. 

“I know I get some heat on here for promoting masks and supporting Black Lives and LGBTQIA rights and vaccines,” Harrison wrote in one caption. “I’m here to promote health, to promote wellness. Which inherently includes protecting the rights and lives of marginalized people.”

Harrison is part of a “network of micro-influencers” who have partnered with data scientists at Public Good Projects, a public health communication non-profit, to help spread correct vaccine or COVID-19 information. 

Fake claims about COVID-19 have spread on social media throughout the pandemic, complicating public health practices. Messages telling people not to wear masks – despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the face covering can slow COVID-19 transmission – have snowballed on Facebook and other social media platforms. In April, trolls and bots flooded social media with hashtags encouraging anti-quarantine messages, while some Americans held protests demanding states re-open businesses. 

Now, as the US ramps up vaccine distribution, experts warn misinformation could hinder widespread immunization. Facebook removed a post falsely claiming the COVID-19 vaccine would lead to infertility after it already garnered hundreds of shares.

A Pew Research Center survey in November found 39% of respondents would not get a COVID-19 vaccine, and Black Americans in particular indicate skepticism stemming from historic racial inequity in healthcare. Anthony Fauci has said the US can return to “some degree of normality” after at least 75% of the population gets a vaccine.

Read more: Amazon is quietly building a business to offer medical care to major companies. Here’s an inside look at Amazon Care.

Joe Smyser, the CEO of Public Good Projects, said monitoring COVID-19 misinformation over the last nine months had been “overwhelming and at times exhausting.” Smyser said the lack of coherent messaging on COVID-19 vaccines has created a “vacuum,” allowing fake claims to reach Americans on social media. 

“Right now the volume of information about vaccines, but also just about public health policies and the pandemic in general, the volume is much bigger on the bad side of things than the good side of things,” Smyser told Business Insider. “There’s more misinformation than there is truth.”

Data scientists and influencers are working together to combat COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

PGP began tracking vaccine hesitancy on social media last year, and created a complementary system to track misinformation related to COVID-19 once the pandemic began in 2020. Data scientists track which false claims could harm public health, and work with public health experts make a rebuttal to debunk the misinformation on social media. 

Smyser said PGP selects microinfluencers based on their audience. The team seeks audiences with high rates of vaccine hesitancy based on past research. The influencers PGP works with include fashion and beauty influencers, mommy bloggers, and music creators.

“Some of the people we work with have a health background, but most are just average everyday people who, for their own reasons, have more influence where they live than other people,” Smyser said. “We find that the way that’s most effective to communicate with people is a non-health expert saying something in whatever way they want to say it.” 

Read more: See the 39-slide presentation that Moderna used to win over investors before the upstart became the hottest company in biotech

Smyser said a danger to sharing vaccine information online is the “global network” of conspiracy theorist groups that monitor hashtags used by major public health agencies and flood posts using them with fake claims. Harrison, the fitness influencer, said she’s had to combat “trolls” on posts about wearing masks.

“They’re just looking through hashtags looking for people who are posting these things and they come and they start throwing their 2 cents into your comments, saying that COVID is not real or that masks are going to cause breathing,” Harrison told Business Insider. “There’s a million things that they say that don’t make any sense.”

Smyser said people against vaccines and other public health tools organized into a political movement in 2020. Just 129 accounts are predominantly responsible for misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on Twitter, according to peer-reviewed PGP data.

Anatoliy Gruzd, director of research at the Social Media Lab, which tracks the spread of debunked COVID-19 claims on social media, said even though a “small percentage” of bad actors create misinformation online, fake claims spread quickly from regular social media users who can easily circulate messages they do not double check. According to Social Media Lab, fake claims on social media spiked starting December 1, around when vaccines began receiving authorization from regulators.

Good Samaritans have started to understand how positive vaccine information can reach people online, and are allocating their own resources to inform the public.

Unlike Harrison, Rob Swanda doesn’t see himself as an influencer, but he has also devoted his free time to spreading good information on COVID-19. 

The 5th year PhD candidate at Cornell University’s biology sciences program had been designing mRNA therapeutics to treat cancer. On December 7, he posted a video explaining how Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines work using illustrations on a whiteboard. 

The video went viral on Twitter, amassing 134,000 likes and 44,000 retweets.

He originally made the video to explain how the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines worked to his grandmother, and after hearing her and his own parents share misinformation, like that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine will inject people with the coronavirus or mutate cells. 

Swanda estimates his video took off due to the fact he used a simple whiteboard to explain the vaccine rather than a complicated graphic design. 

“I think there’s a big challenge in terms of making the information come across accessible,” Swanda said, adding that scientists sometimes struggle with explaining complicated research in layman terms.


Visuals, like the ones Swanda and Harrison used to spread correct COVID-19 information, can help skeptical people understand facts around COVID-19, according to Emma Frances Bloomfield, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bloomfield has studied how to engage with climate change and COVID-19 skeptics to relay correct, scientific information.

Bloomfield said leveraging personal relationships with friends works best when conveying facts about science and public health. People who are predisposed to doubt authority will trust non-political sources of information, like social media influencers, Bloomfield said.

“Actually having people get the vaccine is going to be the crucial thing,” Harrison said. “There’s a lot of different reasons why people are nervous about that or against it. I think that’s the biggest hurdle right now.”

Read the original article on Business Insider