The controversial social media account, Bloggers Unveiled, which is now linked to a Gardaí investigation, has been closed down. What happened and why?
What is, or was, Bloggers Unveiled?
A social media account on Instagram with over 223,000 followers. The account highlighted what the author perceived to be false or misleading posts from numerous well-known bloggers or social media influencers, focusing particularly on fashion, fitness, tanning, beauty.
The account accused many bloggers of questionable practises in their posts, such as photoshopping or filtering images, failing to admit that a post was sponsored or paid for and/or generally misleading their followers.
The person or people behind the account were and are anonymous and they had posted over 240 messages over an eight-month period.
What started as a social media page is now being covered on broadsheets, mainstream media, we spoke about it on the panel on the Marian Finucane show on Sunday and is now central to a criminal investigation.
What led up this?
Over the past few weeks, many people were being named as the person/people behind the account however over the weekend it was revealed that one person in particular was being targeted. On Sunday there was an article by John Mooney in The Times UK where he quoted a person who denied being the person behind Bloggers Unveiled.
That person had received threatening messages including a mass card and according to the article it was sent to the persons home and including the message: "hope you rot in hell" and "may your ovaries rot from inside out".
They said that they were terrified as a result. The Gardaí are looking into the case and taking the threats very seriously. Apparently, according to the article, in addition to receiving threatening messages on social, the person also received anonymous phone calls. Specialist officers are reportedly tracking the IP addresses and data of the computers and mobile phones used.
Aware of this the Bloggers Unveiled account said they had been contacted by friends and family of this person, saying that they had received hate mail. Last week they posted: "Her name has been popping up in forums, hinted at by various influencers and she has been followed on her own Instagram by some influencers in what I suspect was an attempt to intimidate her.
"I feel lucky and secure knowing that, as of yet, I have not been suspected or targeted in any shape or form. But other people have, and I can’t sleep at night knowing someone is fretting about this page."
As a result, yesterday, Wednesday August 1, the Bloggers Unveiled account posted its final message on Instagram before closing the account.
The message read: "Things have taken a nasty, toxic, vindictive and unhealthy turn.
"This page is not something I want to be involved in anymore.
"I'm removing myself from all of this. The baying for blood makes me sick. What a shame that it had to come to this.
"I feel bad for everyone in this cluster F*** that has been created, but I do not want someone else's blood on my hands.
"Thanks once again and take care."
The story has been covered by many media outlets from The Independent, The Examiner, The Sun, the Daily Edge, Joe to Her and more. Now though the account simply says: Sorry, this page isn't available.
How important was this page for people on social media?
220k plus followers shows that there was a lot of interest in what was being posted. Many social media influencers would be delighted with that many followers. Bigger picture there are two key issues to come from this: 1) The horrific reality that there is a criminal case being conducted after someone received threatening messages from random people – that person was judged and threatened as a result of a social media account and 2) that correct protocol needs to be adhered to for sponsored posts or ads on all social media by influencers and bloggers. This eliminates the need for, or interest in, this type of account existing in the first place, anonymous or otherwise.