Globally-renowned beauty magnate Huda Kattan believes there is "no longevity" for social media influencers who buy fake followers.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Kattan said fake followers don't offer real value to an influencer, calling on social platforms such as Instagram to further cut down on them.
“I just feel that if you buy fake followers, there’s no longevity for you,” she said.
"I know some people who buy fake followers. A lot of people in this part of the world do, and I have a problem with it. If I was following someone buying likes and followers, I would feel defrauded. I would be very annoyed. Instagram should cut down on that, [because] it isn’t fair. I have a problem with that."
Kattan, who has 27 million followers on Instagram and 2.5 million subscribers on YouTube, is also the founder of Dubai-based cosmetics firm Huda Beauty, which boasts products ranging from false lashes to skin foundations and eyeshadow palettes.
She initially gained fame on YouTube after sharing free make up tips and tricks, swiftly garnering millions of followers due to her maintaining credibility with little to no sponsorships or advertising.
Kattan advised influencers looking for a long-term social media career to maintain the same credibility by steering clear of buying followers, adding that influencers who buy followers will not be able to accurately monitor their data.
“If your goal is short term, buy fake followers. Go ahead and do that. But if you want long term success, you’ll never be able to succeed by buying fake followers. Everybody knows [when your followers are fake]. How can you monitor your data? You’re making yourself look bad. You’re ruining your career,” she said.
“You’ll never have proper data if you’re buying followers. How do you know you’re actually getting what you’ve asked for? How can you monitor that? How do you know which followers are real and not real? For me from a data entry perspective, because I love data, I would be confused. If anybody’s going to do it, they’re not going to last very long,” she added.
The chairwoman of Huda Beauty recalled Instagram’s 2017 crackdown on fake followers, when Kattan’s own follower count was questioned.
“Some years ago, when Instagram cut out all the fake accounts, everybody dropped by so much. And people were wondering if we were [buying fake followers], because we went through growth fast. But we didn’t drop by that much,” she said.
She explained that the practice is also unfair to brands who are advertising with influencers based on false data and follower count.
“I think it’s a very good start that people have to disclose ads now. I would want to know if somebody had fake followers. It’s unfair to the companies,” she said.
While Huda Beauty does not currently advertise with influencers, Kattan said the cosmetics firm might consider it in the future.
“Because we haven’t advertised with bloggers and are not spending money on them, I’m not as sensitive to the fake followers, but I would have an issue with it as a follower. We don’t pay influencers to post - not that we wouldn’t in the future. It’s just that we haven’t found the need for it. There is no talk about doing it right now, but we might with other brands that we launch when we can’t push as much as much as we want to,” she said.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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