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Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed kicked off Cannes with a big announcement: The company would make an effort not to work with influencers who had fake followers or used bots to grow their accounts. But the reality of working with influencers whose followings are authentic may be trickier than just making a proclamation like that.
Neil Waller, CEO of influencer marketing company Whalar, said he hopes more brands follow Unilever’s lead and help eradicate unethical practices in the industry.
“If a publisher reported an audience number that wasn’t true or a magazine pretended that they had more readers than they actually do, that would be really wrong,” Waller said.
The reason fake followers and the use of bots have become such a prevalent issue in the community, he said, is that for many brands, follower count and likes has been the primary—and oftentimes only—metric used when selecting which influencers to work with.