Skincare Influencer Susan Yara Apologizes for Misleading Fans By Promoting Brand She Secretly Owned
- Susan Yara, the influencer behind Mixed Makeup, is facing intense scrutiny online after announcing her new skincare line, Naturium.
- Fans are outraged because products have been on sale since February, and Yara promoted it for months without ever disclosing she was the owner, a violation of Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
- In fact, Yara offered coupon codes and told fans she learned of the brand after receiving it in PR, only adding disclosures on old posts after backlash over her announcement poured in.
- Yara has apologized for misleading fans, explaining that she did so to earn unbiased feedback from friends and customers. Still, many have promised to submit complaints to the FTC.
Skincare influencer Susan Yara is facing serious backlash after revealing that she was secretly the owner of a new product line that she’s been publicly promoting for months.
On June 21, Yara, who owns the Mixed Makeup YouTube channel, released a video announcing the line, Naturium. For many in the industry, this would be a big milestone, however, the news has been met with a ton of outage.
That’s because Naturium products have actually been available for purchase since February and Sunday’s announcement only revealed that Yara was Naturium’s owner.
While many customers have been loving the products, her followers took issue with the fact that she promoted them without disclosing her ties to the company.
As far as why she kept her ties to Naturium quiet, she said in her announcement video, “it was really important to me to get honest and true feedback from everyone. And I, you know, took a step back and I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m going to get that if I just announce this is my skincare line from the get-go.’”
She also said she delayed revealing it was her brand because of the cultural climate following the world-wide outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Conflicts of Interest
The conflict of interest caused fans to question her integrity as they reflected on how she had misled them.
Fans said Yara made it seem like the brand was an independent company that approached her for a sponsorship deal. Screenshots from as far back as April were shared, showing Yara writing to the Mixed Makeup Facebook group, “Fan of The Ordinary? I have found a better brand called Naturium… I just want you guys to use better products. Don’t fight me! Haha.”
When one person asked her, “how did you find them?” Yara replied, “They sent me a PR mailer when they launched! It’s really good!”
In another exchange about a pending review of the brand, Yara wrote, “Been working on so many brand reviews, this one might be at the bottom of the list. I can say I like everything I’ve tried so far though.”
On her Mixed Makeup YouTube channel, she also promoted the brand with videos like, “4 Affordable Vitamin C Serums I recommend.” That video’s thumbnail even displays Naturium as the only featured product. Beyond that, there are other videos that feature Naturium as a reviewed product.
Because of all this, fans were upset at her lack of transparency, flooding Yara’s social media with angry comments. One comment under Sunday’s “announcement” video, for example, reads: “Wow… you clearly don’t respect your viewers or your customers. Shame on you for lying. I would have been so excited to try this skincare line if it hadn’t been completely tainted by your manipulation and deceit. How disappointing.”
Aside from leaving a bad taste in her fans’ mouths, many say this brand-strategy may end up backfiring because it now could be a case for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Since 2017, the agency has kept a sharp eye out for social media influencers who don’t properly disclose when a post is paid content, or when someone owns a brand they are promoting. One case, in particular, that is reminiscent of Yara’s situation is CS:GO Lotto.
The owners of CS:GO Lotto essentially did what Yara just did. They owned a business and promoted it while pretending they stumbled across it and had no relation to the brand. That’s illegal according to the FTC ACT. and the owners of that CS:GO Lotto eventually settled with the agency in 2017.
Since then, the FTC has issued clear advertising guidelines for content creators. Such guidelines include points like, “Clearly DISCLOSE when you have a financial or family relationship with a brand.” or “Ensure your sponsorship disclosure is HARD TO MISS,” among others.“
At first glace, it doesn’t seem that Yara properly followed these guidelines, and in response, fans have allegedly been sending the FTC complaints.
After receiving backlash, Yara seems to have been trying to do some damage control by responding to comments on Instagram and apologizing for deceiving fans.
She also, according to Beauty Independent, released a statement saying, “I validated my true love for my brand as a reason to post. My intent was never to deceive my followers… In hindsight I should have waited to promote anything from the line until we were ready to announce my involvement.”
“I realize some of my viewers are disappointed in my strategy and I believe their feelings are justified,” she continued. “This has been an incredibly valuable lesson for me and my team. I’m very sorry if anyone felt I was manipulative, but I can assure you my intentions were good. I know that doesn’t make the situation better, so I apologize whole-heartedly.’“
Beyond just apologizing to fans, Yara has gone back to every video on her channel that featured Naturium and added a disclaimer to the bottom of each description box.
“DISCLAIMER: I am a co-founder of NATURIUM and this description may contain affiliate links for a small commission on purchased products,” it reads. “Affiliate links support our channel, so we can continue to make fun videos for you. Thanks for watching and shopping!”
However, while parts of Yara’s disclaimer existed before Sunday, the addition of “I am a co-founder of NATURIUM” was only added after Sunday’s backlash. Even with this edition, the post doesn’t comply with the FTC’s guidelines.
Part of the guidelines dictate that posts, “Don’t rely on disclosures that people will see only if they click “more,” but in order to properly see this disclaimer, a user would need to do just that.
Currently, there is no word on whether or not the FTC will take action, but it does, Yara could be liable for upwards of $40,000 per infringing post.
Others Dragged In
For a lot of fans, there’s still another issue with this entire ordeal: whether or not other influencers who reviewed the products knew about Yara’s involvement.
This list included people featured in the announcement video like Hyram, James Welsh, Liah Yoo, and the channel Beauty Within. Yet, based on Yara’s announcement video, no one else knew it was her brand.
In an Instagram story Yara published Monday, she tried to shut down this claim, writing, “Hi everyone. I have seen the comments come through today and I’m very sorry I upset you… I can assure you no one knew about my involvement with NATURUM when they posted about the brand.”
Yara also added, “It was insinuated in a live today content creators knew more and that is completely false information.” Many fans thought this was a reference to Caroline Hirons, another skincare expert on the platform who hosted an hour-log Instagram live stream also on Monday. However, at no point in that stream did Hirons hint that anyone else knew.
She also added that she would be releasing a video on the topic “soon,” but as of June 24, no such video has been released.
A previous version of this story stated that Caroline Hirons insinuated in an hour-long live stream that other creators knew Susan Yara owned Nutrium. That is not the case, and this article has been updated to reflect that.
See What Others Are Saying: (Beauty Independent) (Daily Dot)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Associated Press) (People)
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.