Introduction

Yesterday I was listening to a talk show on Spin 1038 about an Instagram account called Bloggersunveiled. The account was set up to call out bloggers for untoward practices and to help provide more transparency in the Influencer Industry. The talk show host, Lauren, had a number of callers giving their take on the account, and when the account wanted to defend itself, the person behind it would have to message Lauren their response via Instagram, which would then be read out on air. The person at the helm of the account could not go on air for fear of being identified.

When I first heard about Bloggersunveiled, I liked the idea. I really liked the idea. Those of you who follow me will know that I am a particularly honest person when it comes to social media and that I am the first person to call out bloggers (or anyone) when needs be. I always do this from a social media account which identifies me. The page, in my mind, was doing stellar work. It called me out at one point for snapping the village of Skerries while I was driving through it. It was 100% right to call me out. Snapping at the wheel, even if it’s only at 5mph, is completely wrong.

While I did think this page was doing a good job, the one thing that never sat well with me was the fact that the person or people running the page were anonymous. The person or people behind the page were not willing to identify themselves. Why was this? If you are doing something which appears to be ‘the right thing’, why feel the need to hide? This is one element of the page which I have never respected.

When you are not showing your face online, you are free to say pretty much anything. The majority of hate I get on Twitter is from fake troll accounts. After all, trolls can say whatever they want when they have the luxury of being able to hide behind the face of a cat.

The anonymous element of Bloggersunveiled has always been a concern for me. We don’t know if it’s one person running the page. We don’t know if it’s five people running the page. We don’t know if it’s a failed blogger, motivated purely by envy. We don’t know if it’s a competitor of the subjects it has called out. If the page is operated by four people, for example, perhaps only three of them possess a moral compass. When Paul Stenson calls out a blogger looking for a free 5-night stay in his hotel, he does it as himself. He is willing to take the stick for it. The fact that he puts his name to what he does means he cannot cross a particular line that people who hide beneath a cloak of anonymity are free to cross, should they so wish.

The Line

For a long time, I have feared the day when Bloggersunveiled would cross the line. I knew it was always a distinct possibility. Why wouldn’t it be? When you’re anonymous, there is no line.

I am not the first to say that the page has gone from one that’s ‘doing its civic duty’ to one that has descended into a toxic playground of hate and vitriol. It seems to be a platform where women tear each other apart on a daily basis over apparently petty and seemingly innocuous issues.

I can understand the need to ‘call out’ influencers over questionable practices, and that’s fine, but what the page seems to be doing now is picking on the same person, again, and again, and again. It has gone from calling out a blogger for doing something wrong to incessantly picking on them. This isn’t defined as ‘doing a civic duty’. This is defined as ‘bullying’.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am not an advocate of influencer marketing. I think it’s flawed. Indeed, I have called it the ‘biggest embarrassment of modern day society’, but I would never dream of picking on anyone over and over again, particularly if I were protected by a shield of anonymity. We know that bullies are cowards, but at least the schoolyard bully was willing to identify themselves.

I was bullied at school. I despise bullies. I don’t mind what Bloggersunveiled say about The White Moose, they are free to criticise me as much as they like (and indeed they have undoubtedly increased our following), but I do take exception when I see anyone picking on people unnecessarily, especially when we don’t know what the motivations of the ringleader are.

At the end of the day, the people they pick on are only human. They are as prone to bouts of depression as the rest of us. Their mental health is as fragile as our own. They fuck up as we all do. Calling them out is fine, but endless bullying and shaming is not cool.

The Most Popular Religion in Ireland

We know that we have a huge number of Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, but I am firmly of the belief that the most popular religion we have on our land is one called ‘Begrudgery’.

We Irish hate to see our fellow people do well. In America, if people do well, their compatriots pat them on the back. They’ll congratulate them. Here if people do well, we look for a reason to pull them back down. I am pretty sure the saying ‘green with envy’ is not a pure coincidence and that it exists as a means of paying homage to us Irish.

Bloggersunveiled now has 148k followers. This is massive, but is it any wonder? In my opinion, the popularity of Bloggersunveiled is testament to our propensity to begrudge those who become successful.

In the past, I have said that the majority of Bloggersunveiled followers are unemployed women. This may be an unfair statement. I have no doubt that the majority of their followers are female, but it may not be just unemployed women. I am sure there are stay at home moms following the page too. Whatever the demographics of the followers, one thing’s for sure, they have an awful lot of time on their hands and they thrive on bringing people down.

The normal course of events is that Bloggersunveiled post something and then their followers comment on the post, tagging their friends in a kind of ‘have you seen this/look at her’ way, which allows them to then ‘gang up’ in packs on whatever subject BU has chosen to target. The subject, who (unlike BU) is identified, is then the target of hate and vitriol on their individual platforms. This involves horrible comments, including death threats, hitting their inbox.

I will not mention any names during this post, but I am aware that some of the people at the receiving end of BU hate campaigns have suffered from mental breakdowns as a result. This is not right. I am also aware that on the other hand, BU has received death threats. This is also unacceptable. However, there is a difference between getting a death threat when you are a well-known personality and getting a death threat when nobody knows who you are. It would be fairly difficult to kill someone you cannot identify.

One-sided Content

I am led to believe that much of the content posted by BU is one-sided and oftentimes false. I have heard this from various sources. For example, one particular influencer was selling a swimsuit and uploaded an image of the bathing suit with the caption ‘never worn’. BU found a picture of this influencer wearing what appeared to be the same swimsuit and uploaded this image beside the ‘never worn’ photo. What BU failed to acknowledge was the fact that the influencer in question owned two of these swimsuits, and that one of them was, in fact, never worn (the one for sale). When advised about the existence of two suits, BU ignored this fact. They didn’t feel the need to tell their followers about the second suit and the original post still remains.

Similarly, one another occasion, BU made a false claim that I had asked my followers to negatively review a certain bar in Dublin. This is also false. I did go on a bit of a rant about how Jason and Nicky were treated by the security of this bar, but I never once asked our followers to give the establishment one-star reviews as BU claim. Despite my asking BU to prove where I asked followers to leave these reviews, they have not been able to provide this proof and the original post still remains on their page.

An anonymous Instagram account that facilitates hate towards a particular person is bad enough, but when the hate campaign is based on information that is dishonest and one-sided, this makes it so much worse.

Spinelessness

While listening to Spin 1038 yesterday, it was glaringly obvious that all of the calls coming in were against BU. Not one of the calls that came in were in support of the page. This did not surprise me. It backs up the point I make time and time again. People are spineless. They will write stuff online that they are not willing to say to you in real life, whether it’s in person or over the phone. Surely if people believed that BU was a force for good they’d be able to defend its practices over the phone on a talk show? If BU is necessary, why not speak publicly about how great it is?

Is it perhaps because they realise that what BU do is morally questionable? Do they realise that it’s nothing more than a bullying page? Do they feel guilty about supporting a bullying campaign? When the ringleader is too cowardly to identify themselves, is it any wonder that this doesn’t instil much courage in its supporters to speak up publicly?

The only messages of support that came in for the page where via text message. The same medium its supporters use to spew hate about its targets. The easy way. The spineless way. 

The Comments Section

I find it interesting that the comments section on all the Bloggerunveiled posts were disabled around the time of the Spin 1038 interview. This was not a simple coincidence, this was done on purpose.

The majority of the hate and bullying originates in the comments. The comments section is a playground for bitching. The person behind the page claims to moderate these comments, and this may indeed be true. However, even if they do moderate, the moderation will probably be as one-sided as the original post. They also have a tendency to ‘tee up’ the post using language that is conducive to bullying. For example, on one of their posts which targeted me, they included the hashtag #neededmorehugsasachild. This kind of language doesn’t bother me. I have been called much worse. I see horrible comments as ‘par for the course’. My point is that when the supposed ‘moderator’ is cooking up a post with hashtags like the above, how can we expect the comments section to be in any way rational or balanced?

Moderating commentary is good, but when (a) the moderator needs moderation, and (b) we don’t even know who the moderator is, Houston, we have a problem.

Can The Page Work?

Yes. The page can work if it does what it says it strives to achieve – transparency. If the person at the helm had identified themselves, from the outset, there is a chance it could have worked. If we could see the person posting, then perhaps we could tell if the picture they shared showing a model’s photo-shopped image alongside an unaltered image of the same model was motivated by jealousy or by a real desire to call people out. Maybe it is the latter, but how do we know? As it stands, the admin behind BU is nothing more than a cartoon. Until they identify themselves, we will never know if they’re nothing more than a bitter, jealous bitch, and the post showing the model (which has since been deleted) will forever be regarded (by many) as incredibly mean.

Women can be bitchy. A woman who is unhappy with their own weight will be only delighted to drag down the girl with the ‘perfect body’. If we knew who the admin was and saw that she herself had the perfect body, then we’d know they were doing their civic duty and not simply ‘out to get someone’ they begrudged.

My worry is that we’ve gone past the point of no return and that it is too late for the admin of BU to identify themselves. I genuinely worry about the person behind Bloggersunveiled. He or she has built up a following of supporters but also haters. When the person at the helm is identified, and they will be, I worry about the outcome. I feel their fall from grace will be somewhat dramatic. I worry about the mental health of the person or people behind BU.

Can We All Just Get Along?

I was sitting in the lounge of Charleville Lodge yesterday evening having had my one-hour Reiki session and my healer was talking about how the Planet Jupiter was in retrograde. I hadn’t a clue what she was talking about, but it made me think about the universe. It made me think about the human race. It made me think about how our time on this planet is limited. How each of us is nothing more than a speck of dust in the overall context of time and space. We mean nothing. We are nothing.

We can spend our lives worrying about silly shit such as BU, or we can get up off our arses and make a difference. We can make a positive impact on this world. There are plenty of ways for us to make an indelible mark on this planet, but I’m pretty sure writing vicious comments on BU is not a way to do this. Get your priorities right, people.

Bloggersunveiled may ignore this blog post, they may also offer some form of rebuttal. All I’ll say is that if they do respond, and it’s under the veil of Bloggersunveiled, it has no credibility. Identify yourself, stop harassing women incessantly, and then maybe, just maybe, you will have my respect. Until then you will be nothing more and nothing less than an anonymous bully in a toxic playground of hate.

Peace out,

Paulie x

About the Author PaulVStenson

I am the manager of The White Moose Cafe and Charleville Lodge in Dublin, Ireland. I believe that you only live once. I believe that life should be enjoyed. I don't see the point in whinging and moaning. I see myself as someone who speaks the truth. The truth doesn't seem to suit everybody's agenda, so I am labelled with the term 'controversial'.

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