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Instagram: When Health Communication Is In The Hands Of Influencers

By April 6, 2019 No Comments

Social media allows its users to connect on interests, positions and even shared illnesses. Using this formula, healthcare companies identify potential influencers who can use these points in common to reach and build trust with a targeted target audience. Influencers distinguish themselves from celebrities through what is termed the ” proximity of social networks “. Celebrities are people on whom we project fantasies, while the former makes these fantasies reachable because they are based on some kind of emotional bond. By allowing us to enter their personal lives through social media, they fill a void that once existed.

Influencers occupy a strange space: they are celebrities who behave like our ” friends ” to be followed virtually on Instagram.

Even in Europe, the situation is not very different from America and the problem linked to health communication on social channels, Instagram in the first place, by influencers can sometimes be misleading and harmful to consumers. 

Gummy candies for children under 4: censored spots on Instagram

Sometimes advertising can lead parents to make bad choices, potentially dangerous for their children. Once again, it is the spotlight by some influencers on social networks that it ends up being accused.

Thanks also to the report of the dietitian Marta Gelain , who on Instagram conducted a counter-information campaign as soon as she heard of the advertisements that were circulating, the Institute for advertising self- regulation (IAP) has in fact censored an advertisement for some gummy candies (the VEGGY Fruittella AM! C!) Published – in fact – on Instagram by three accounts of influencer mothers with a large following. The testimonials (who, unlike other influencers in the past, have clearly written that it was a commercial) have been photographed together with their children writing a claim like: ” With Fruittella we can grant some extra gluttony to our children with more serenity “.

According to the Institute, however, those advertisements were “potentially dangerous” because they induced the public to “neglect the normal rules of prudence” and “diminish the sense of responsibility” towards the dangers. The problem, in fact, is that the children portrayed in the photos were younger than 4-5 years, that is the age threshold under which, according to the Ministry of Health, children cannot be given either candy or jelly to avoid the suffocation.

From an Instagram spot, in short, a parent could have thought that those jellies were also suitable for children under the age of 4 when in reality the risk of pediatric suffocation is exactly the same. In one of the advertising posts, Iap specifies, one of the influencers tried to adjust the shot by specifying that the photo was “for illustrative purposes because these candies are suitable for older children”. This statement, however, was not considered sufficient to balance because it contradicted what was written earlier.

In order for consumers to be able to protect themselves in ways that regulatory agencies cannot do, it is necessary to remember that being an influencer is a job , but above all a social and educational one, which can only be done effectively if the stories tell the reality and are traceable back to the average user. Our clicks and likes can improve or not improve our lives, despite what the captions lead us to believe, but our commitment will always benefit the bottom line of influencers and the companies they work for.

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