Algerian influencers fear that this “scandal” will undermine their popularity, and that the popularity of their content on social networking sites may decline.
The uproar began when dozens of Algerian students complained of being defrauded by a company that claimed it was offering offers to study abroad.
The students said that they were surprised that some of them were unable to leave the country and study abroad despite paying large sums of money, while others found themselves wandering in the streets of Turkey and Ukraine.
The company accused of fraud was promoted, with the participation of four of the most prominent influencers in Algeria, who are followed by millions of young people.
It is related to the famous influencer “Rifk”, whose account is followed by more than 4 million people on Instagram, the famous young influencer with the name “Nahla” who is followed by 1.5 million people on Instagram, the young influencer Inas Abdali, whose account is followed by more than 3 million people, and Stanley, who follows him 1.6 million people.
The issue sparked a great deal of controversy in Algeria, highlighting the legal aspects and the state’s role in monitoring ads promoted on Instagram.
confession and apology
In the face of this commotion, the influencers were forced to broadcast a joint live video that lasted more than four hours, in which they talked about the details of the case.
In the end, they had to apologize to the victims of that company, and pledged to work together to return the money that the students had paid for studying abroad, and then discovered that they were victims of fraud.
The young actor, Mohamed Barkan, better known by his nickname “Stanley”, said that he is asking forgiveness from the students who were victims of the show.
In a live video, Berkan confirmed that he admitted the mistake he made by promoting on his page that company that deluded students to travel and study in Ukraine in exchange for sums of money exceeding the limits of 10 thousand dollars per year.
profitable instagram business
The phenomenon of Instagram marketing has spread very widely in Algeria, and young people are competing with each other to publish satirical and exciting videos in order to increase the number of followers, and to gain the confidence of commercial companies that want to market their products.
According to economists and e-marketing experts, promotion and advertising via Instagram is witnessing real chaos in Algeria, which reflects the need to review control and follow-up mechanisms.
“This issue prompts us to create a national database for approved products, to be available on the Internet so that every citizen can view them,” Algerian economist Hamid Alwan told Sky News Arabia.
Alwan pointed out that the students bear a part of the responsibility, and said, “They should have investigated and collected information and not rush to deal with companies that promote their activities through Instagram.”
Recently, the interests of the Algerian Ministry of Commerce included the activity of influencers on Instagram and other social networking sites in the list of the national commercial registry, and the National Center of the Commercial Register defined their activity in the electronic activity portal under the category of “influencers on networks”.
Legal experts warn
In light of these data, lawyer Najib Bittam believes that the matter is complicated and there is a need to study the students’ case case by case, stressing that the Public Prosecution will move to follow up on the matter, sooner or later, even if the students do not file a complaint, because the matter is related to public opinion.
Bittam confirmed that he had received calls from the victims of that company for legal advice, and the Algerian lawyer told Sky News Arabia, “There are many legal issues that must be taken into consideration, the first of which is the nature of the contracts between the Algerian company and the foreign company and between influencers who promote fake products.” .
Legal experts see this case as a link in the chain of chaos in the use of communication sites by young people, and legal expert Omar Farouk Soleimani, a specialist in information law, stresses the need not to deal with Instagram activity in an amateur way.
Lawyer Omar Farouk told Sky News Arabia, “These operations fall under the category of fraud and do not exonerate influencers in any way.”
Omar Farouk said, “In this case, they are partners, and two charges have been brought against them. The first is related to the commercial activity via Instagram, which has become legalized and requires registration in the Commercial Registry, and this means that they violate the commercial activity, and the second charge is related to participation in fraud and fraud.”
The legal expert stressed the need for all influencers in the future to verify the nature of the companies and products they are promoting, in order to protect themselves from legal follow-up.