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Big brand sellers have been accused of using influencers’ photos without consent. However, influencers don’t know how to combat the theft.
Since marketing for companies has recently taken a turn to influencers, their image has grown in popularity all around the world. For some companies, this has provided them a chance to take images from influencers’ accounts for their own personal branding.
There has been particular complaints about Chinese fast fashion brands attempting to sell cheap, fake versions of products. They often steal images and then crop out the head or face. The only way influencers actually find out about their images being stolen is through fans’ messages asking about the branding elsewhere. This makes it almost impossible for influencers to fight against the case.
YouTube Influencer Lucy Kyselica
One case of this came from Dutch YouTube influencer Lucy Kyselica. Kyselica focuses on the beauty market including hairstyles, make-up, and eyebrow care videos. It was the latter in which Kyselica found herself in a mini scandal.
Kyselica posted an informative video threading her eyebrows to her followers on YouTube. A few weeks later she found her DM’s full of fans. They were asking why there was a poster of her in a beauty salon in America. The YouTube influencer even sent an email to the shop asking for them to take it down but received no reply.
Since this event happened, Kyselica’s face has been used in many places for hair-growth products, skincare products and other beauty products. In addition, she has even seen her own clip-on bangs product advertised by a Chinese company on Amazon.
Could this pose benefits for influencers?
While this can certainly be a problem for influencers, there is an argument that it actually helps some influencers very much. The scandal can result in a surprising benefit. This was the case for YouTube influencer Bernadette Banner.
YouTube influencer Bernadette Banner in the hand-made dress that was stolen.
Banner found out that her hand-made dress was being advertised by a fast-fashion company and selling it. Bearing in mind that she does not even sell the dress herself, she decided to make a comparison YouTube video knowing she had nothing to lose. The video went viral, and Banner raked in 3.7 million views while growing her subscribers by double.
At the moment, there is not a lot that influencers can do. The communication gap between the scandalous companies and the influencers is bridged. Even if influencers send an email or a message it is very unlikely, they will ever get a reply. Social media platforms are trying their best to deal with the non-consensual taking of images. However, often it is a problem that is very difficult to solve. For now, influencers must use their following power to publicise the problem and report them until the images are taken down.