Today I’d like to talk about the ethics of professional use of social media, but not in a sense you might automatically assume. I will discuss people that gain income through their social media and the downfalls of doing so with regards to negative reaction from the public. Some of the most popular celebrities right now, especially amongst younger people, are known through the online social presence. For example “YouTubers” and the “Instagram famous” can make millions from sharing their social life, making it their main occupation. Yet, through making their social life available to the world they are left with very limited privacy and reactions to content can leave internet celebrities in trouble.
The 19 year old beauty vlogger, Marina Joyce, has an eccentric demeanour that drew attention to her making her go viral this year. Due to the way she acts in her videos and streams, viewers collectively sent out hundreds of thousands of tweets and contacted the police about potential drug abuse and other conspiracies. Due to this Marina and personal friends reacted in order to try and keep personal issues personal. A close friend, Karim Slimani, in anger tweeted “Someone’s PERSONAL LIFE AND PROBLEMS ARE NOT URS TO SHARE THIS ISN’T A F—ING TV SHOW”.
Zoella (Zoe Sugg) is one of YouTube’s biggest stars with over 10 million subscribers. She connects with fans using a wide range of social media platforms, one of which being Snapchat. What she thought was an innocent ‘Snapchat Story’ was thought to be inappropriate as her underwear exposed. As Zoe usually keeps a very respectable online profile this came as a shock to many fans and the story blew up in tabloid newspapers and on Twitter. As Zoe is in a relationship with another internet celebrity Alfie Days, they have claimed to feel “suffocated” with the lack of privacy they now have.
In my opinion, I feel that taking a career choice to be an internet celebrity denies a person much of their privacy because it is part of their job to expose their personal life for the entertainment of viewers. Obviously though, this should not be abused to the point where it is affecting the person creating content. This lack of privacy is rewarded though with a hefty salary, with Zoella earning around £50,000 (according to accounts obtained by The Sunday Times). This creates a question of whether it is worth sacrificing privacy for money.
Pewdiepie, the most subscribed YouTuber, has his say on the matter in a video below. (Warning of explicit language used during this video)