The RSA says it's "utterly irresponsible behaviour". So why do people keep doing it?
Since it was set up in January, the Instagram account Bloggers Unveiled has gained 40,000 followers for calling out Irish influencers for editing photos and failing to disclose paid advertisements.
Over the past few weeks, however, they’re getting attention for highlighting bloggers and influencers who post to Snapchat and Instagram while driving. In Ireland, it’s an offence to drive while holding a mobile phone – if you’re caught, you could face a court appearance and a fine of up to €1,000.
“People are saying we have ‘outed’ them for driving and snapping, but the reality is these people were uploading the footage themselves,” Bloggers Unveiled told STELLAR.
We wanted to share [the videos] because they were doing it in such a casual manner where they had no regard for other users… Uploading it themselves meant they didn’t even seem to see they were breaking the law.
Bloggers Unveiled say they are sent “two or three videos daily” by passionate followers keeping an eye out for instances of snapping and driving. In one such video, an influencer can be seen talking into the camera while driving through snow; in another, a woman shows off her freshly-manicured nails while driving.
A spokesperson for the Road Safety Authority said they are aware of the videos, telling STELLAR:
Our message is simple. Don’t use a mobile phone – for any reason when you are behind the wheel of a car. This applies to situations while driving or when stopped in traffic. Social media influencers have an added responsibility, as people in positions to influence the behaviour of others, to set a good example and demonstrate the correct behaviour.
While Bloggers Unveiled say they’re pleased that the RSA has acknowledged the videos, they now fear that the warning about people being ‘influenced’ to snap and drive may be coming true.
They claim that people are now snapping and driving with the express purpose of being called out by the page and put in front of its 40k followers.
One guy we called out seemed only delighted that he was featured on the page, and a smaller blogger was bragging about her increased stats since being featured. We don’t want to give these people publicity for breaking the law, but at the same time it’s important to highlight the risks that ‘influencers’ are taking on the roads.
This practice has been widely condemned by other bloggers and influencers, who feel it devalues the work of the rest of the community.
“It’s hard to put into words just how frustrating this is to upstanding members of the blogging community,” says Sarah Hanrahan, founder of the blog I Come Undone.
People need to realise that even if they were ‘hate following’ these people they’re still giving them numbers and attention. [One blogger] gained more followers that day for snapping while driving than any of us hard-working bloggers gain for creating valuable content (or at least more valuable than that).
“We as followers need to take accountability for how much energy is directed towards these situations, good, bad or otherwise.”
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