Influencers on Social media – Between Law and Ethics

25 September 2018, Brown Bag Lunch
12.15-13.45, MakerSpace (room beside Mensa), University of St. Gallen

Social media has been changing the way in which people communicate, and that is nothing new. The emergence of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or – more recently – has transformed social interaction in peer-networks. This transformation can be noticed by anyone participating in or observing such networks. What is less noticeable, though, is how business models have changed to benefit from these shifts in social trends.

One industry where business practices have been fundamentally impacted is the advertising industry. While in the early days of social media marketing, social networks were used to establish online brand identity, since 2015 a new advertising concept has been sweeping the online space: influencer marketing. Based on peer empowerment – anyone with a camera and internet connection can start producing content for an online social media platform, influencer marketing is to social media what native advertising is to the news world. Persons with well- followed social media accounts lend their brand image for the endorsement of goods or services, while rarely – if at all – disclosing that their support does not necessarily entail genuine appreciation for the endorsed things, but that such support is paid or bartered for.

This event aims to discuss influencer marketing using insights from private law, ethics as well as journalistic practice. Register by sending an e-mail to by 23 September. Exceptionally, Skype connections may also be available for streaming.



Isabel Ebert (Moderator, President of the Data Science & Tech Club)

Social Media Influencers – An Introduction

Short presentations by panelists

Prof. Isabelle Wildhaber (Director of FAA-HSG, Institute of Work and Employment Research) – Future of Work & the Creative Content Gig Economy

Dr. Catalina Goanta (Assistant Professor, Maastricht University) – Private Law Challenges of Influencer Marketing

Anja Olsson (Head of Market Development, Neue Zürcher Zeitung) – How the Industry Adapts to Social Media Advertising

12.35-13.15 Panel discussion