| On 1 year ago

Here’s Why Singapore IG Page Influencer Glassdoor Is a Lawsuit Waiting to Happen

We get it. The world is a mess. With a global pandemic, police brutality, and political tensions merely a fraction of what 2020 has to offer, all those memes about each month being worse than the last are hitting scarily close to home.

On a local scale, matters in Singapore have, too, been a whirlwind. One of the latest to join the chaotic party is none other than Influencer Glassdoor—a feedback site supposedly aimed at “shedding light on the [influencer] industry”.

Credit – Influencer Glassdoor

However, it appears as though Influencer Glassdoor has caught their fair share of flak from influencers and Instagram users alike, with Wendy Cheng, better known as Xia Xue, having been especially vocal about it.

In any case, here is—in our opinion—what’s wrong with Influencer Glassdoor.

1. “The admins are not responsible for the content of all submissions”

In their telegram channel that is currently inaccessible, one of the first things you’ll read in their pinned disclaimer message is that “the admins are not responsible for the content of all submissions”.

By making that claim, however, the admins of Influencer Glassdoor have been sorely mistaken. I understand the need to disclaim that as a form of self-preservation and protection, but it is, unfortunately, legally untrue. As user @willythewombatwizard has pointed out in an IG Story, “an owner, admin, or manager of a site can be held liable for defamatory content hosted on the site even if he/she did not post it himself/herself, but allowed the content to remain on the site.”

Credit – Screengrab from Xia Xue’s IG Story

If there’s anything that we’ve learnt from the SG Nasi Lemak saga when the admins of the telegram group were arrested for encouraging the distribution of pornographic content, is that admins are hardly safe. @willythewombatwizard carries on to elaborate that “forum owners, managers, major web platforms, etc. have been successfully sued for defamation across the world on this point alone”.

Credit – Screengrab from Influencer Glassdoor Googleforms page

In fact, when Influencer Glassdoor admins made the statement that “No one will know that it was you…we DO NOT know your email and have NO access to any of your Gmail information”, it becomes more harmful to them considering that if the original poster cannot be identified, the admins themselves will have to bear the brunt of the offence.

2. Censorship (or not)

Despite “censoring” out the usernames of influencers who are the subjects of bad reviews, once again @willythewombatwizard has highlighted that as long as there are distinguishing information and features along with the post that allows readers to pinpoint the influencer in question correctly, it counts as identification.

And judging by the negative reviews posted on the page, the admins have done little to conceal the identity of the influencer in question. In fact, responding to comments to remove the censorship of these ‘negative subjects’, admins have even proactively mentioned that they will include the influencer’s follower count in subsequent posts.

Credit – Screengrab of Instagram comment

With the influencer’s follower count and bits and pieces of their username revealed, it really doesn’t take much to unearth the said influencer with a little digging.

Credit – Influencer Glassdoor

Take this for example—readers are given the first and last letters of the influencer’s name as well as her follower count.

Credit – Screengrab of Instagram comment

Piecing these bits of information together will easily reveal her identity, just as user @beanyjimmy has done.

3. Evidence & receipts are good to have but are not mandatory

A point that Xia Xue was very adamant about was the fact that the Influencer Glassdoor admins were comfortably pushing out feedback and reviews without requiring any evidence of the said claims.

More specifically, they advised posters to submit evidence only if they were comfortable with them being published online. Due to the lack of proof needed to back such claims, there is quite literally nothing stopping contributors from making false remarks or spin tales about whomever they want, however they want.

Credit – Screengrab from Xia Xue’s IG Story

As Xia Xue crudely puts it, “what’s stopping me from saying that I worked with @shiberty, and she raped me while I nagged her to submit her post?” In addition to that, allowing the posters to hide behind the veil of anonymity encourages irresponsible online behaviour.

Without evidence, there’s almost no way for readers to verify the veracity of these assertions, making the whole platform frankly quite counterproductive.

At the end of the day, we just end up with a whole pool of remarks, with no idea of what’s real.

4. Middleman removes the site’s transparency

Sites like TripAdvisor, Reddit, and even Glassdoor do not have a middleman to moderate comments because they want to create a transparent, authentic environment for users. While moderators of these sites might be permitted to remove hateful or offensive comments, user reviews, for the most part, are left to operate in a ‘free market’ type of mechanism.

However, the admins of Influencer Glassdoor intentionally pick and choose reviews to post—this additional step leaves backend operations a little murkier than we’d like. There is no way for readers to know what goes on behind the ‘selection’ process, what valuable remarks might have been intentionally omitted, and worse still, what alterations might have been made to the original content.

5. “We will NOT post submissions that judge an influencer’s content”

Yet, here we are.

Credit – Screengrab from Influencer Glassdoor Googleforms page

Despite the admins’ attempt to keep Influencer Glassdoor as impartial as possible, it seems that they have put up a particular post that goes exactly against this claim.

Credit – Influencer Glassdoor

In this less-than-censored rant, OP appears to be unhappy with the way the influencer in question—allegedly @Mongabong, or Mongchin Yeoh—conducts her content.

Despite claims from Influencer Glassdoor admins that such remarks will be omitted, this post somehow still found its way to their Instagram feed.

Also, the inconsistent censorship of the influencer’s Instagram handle—“m*ng*b*ng” earlier and then “m*ngab*ng” more than gives away her identity. If you’re going to attempt some sort of censorship, then at least keep it congruous.

6. Including the term ‘Glassdoor’ in their name

Using the term ‘glassdoor’ in their name already creates the impression of affiliation at first glance, despite the the disclaimer that they are in no way related. Primarily, Influencer Glassdoor is riding on the general understanding that the vast majority has of Glassdoor, but tailoring it specifically to Singapore’s influencer scene.

We’re no legal experts, but this just might be a lawsuit waiting to happen.

After going through the site’s content and the opinions surrounding it, the mystery behind why someone would create such an account still remains unsolved. Perhaps the admins have personally worked with one too many nasty influencers, or maybe someone has a personal vendetta against someone in the industry. Conspiracy theorists might even speculate that an influencer themself might be behind this, lying in wait to slowly but surely defame their competitors.

Whichever realities you choose to believe, I hope that you will nonetheless exercise caution when it comes to platforms like this. As Xia Xue has stressed, baselessly trash-talking another influencer for the sake of it might cost a mere two minutes of our time, but it might cost them clients, deals or even, their career. Let’s choose to be kinder about what we say, both online and offline.

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