During the pre-election campaign period of the Riga City Council, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) will also pay attention to social network stars or influencers. These are mostly Instagram and YouTube accounts, followed by thousands of people. So – a broad reach of the electorate. KNAB is interested in whether the influencers have not been involved in illegal advertising of parties.
Instagram and YouTube influencers, followed by tens of thousands of followers, would be a potentially great force in the Riga City Council’s desire to mobilize its followers to support a particular party or deputy candidate, Latvian analysts of influenza environmental analysts say. It can reach the youngest electorate.
“Those people also don’t consume classic media, they are very difficult to reach and social media is the environment where they are, the media they consume,” says Deniss Ševeļovs, Head of Influenza Relations at Golin Riga.
“If we are already promoting both cosmetics and fashion and complex topics with influencers, such as caring for nature, waste sorting, then why not promote political issues and voting as such,” says Marija Vorkule, a communication specialist and LU SZF lecturer.
An influencer may advertise a particular party or deputy candidate, but then, within the meaning of the law, the influencer is a provider of advertising services. And if you want to get paid for political campaigning, then by July 10, the KNAB had to submit a price list – how much the influencer demands for one “Instagram” video, recording or “Instagram story”.
“None of the influencers have done so, therefore influencers may not place pre-election campaign materials during the pre-election campaign period,” says Agita Antonāne, a representative of KNAB.
KNAB invites users of social networks to report if they see influencers we are expanding political agitation. There is an exception – an influencer may advertise a party or deputy candidate if he does so in his own name, according to his personal political convictions and no one has paid him for it. Commitments to the KNAB will be made if the influencer pays Instagram or Facebook to make such an agitating record as an advertisement and see it as many people as possible. The so-called “housing”.
“He is allowed to campaign in his own name and by financing the entire campaign from his own funds, and during this pre-election campaign he may not spend 6,450 euros,” the KNAB representative points out.
In the caries of the political environment, money influencers could theoretically smile and accept money illegally. Influencers’ environmentalists warn against violating the law.
“I advise influencers not to engage in agitation, especially paid and especially if they do not belong to the party in any way, because there are high reputational risks. In principle, they may be involved in a major scandal and will be barred from acting for a long time afterwards, ”says Golin Riga, Head of Influenza Relations.
“If we imagine that somehow it turns out that she had misled her audience without saying that she was paid to advertise a party, I think that will end her career,” says the communication specialist and LU SZF lecturer.
The social media expert admits that political agitation, disguised as a personal attitude, could appear on the Instagram accounts of influencers a week before the election. However, in his opinion, more than anything, the KNAB should rather worry about the anonymous accounts “Twitter” and politically engaged pages “Facebook”, which was especially noticeable before the previous Saeima elections.
Anonymous tweets, fake pages could very well be affected if we want to slander someone. I have a feeling that the society has become more critical and media literacy has increased, ”says Ševeļovs.
The head of Influencer Relations of Golin Riga, who selects Instagram and YouTube stars for advertising campaigns of various companies, confirms that so far political parties had not even consulted on the possibility of campaigning for influencers for the Riga City Council elections. Meanwhile, in Western Europe and the United States political marketing influencers are very actively involved.