On August 4, 2021, an online course supposedly to be taught by revered Filipino tattooist Apo Whang-od Oggay, or better known as Whang-od, was taken down from a digital learning platform by Nuseir Yassin, aka Nas Daily, after a relative of the 104-year-old artist called it a scam.

Currently, Nas Daily has lost over a quarter-million followers on Facebook after intense backlash from the Whang-Od issue.

According to data provided by CrowdTangle, a public insights tool owned by Facebook, Nas Daily has lost over 267,600 followers on its main Facebook page from August 2 to 6.

Image from Rappler
Image from Rappler

The sizable drop in his influence is largely seen as the consequence of social media backlash against the popular vlogger. 

Who is Nas?

Image from Rappler

Nas, whose birth name is Nuseir Yassin, is a famous Arab Israeli video blogger who is notable for creating daily one-minute long videos on Facebook under the name Nas Daily.

In the year 2016, Yassin explored the world with the goal of documenting his travel experiences in a video. This inspired him to create a Facebook Page known as Nas Daily, where he would release his one-minute long video for 1,000 days. His unique and interesting videos featuring different nations and cultures caused a massive rise in his followers – accumulating over 8 million followers by September 2018.

On 5 January 2019, Yassin completed his 1000 daily video voyage, with the motto “That’s one minute, see you soon.” On 1 February 2019, he began making one video per week for a scheduled 100 weeks until the beginning of 2021.

Nas’ videos feature different countries all over the globe – their cultures, the people, and their different ways of living. These videos basically promote diversity and celebration of cultures. 

The Issue

Image from CNN Philippines

Nas Academy, Nas Daily’s online ed-tech platform, announced on its website that it will be offering a course on Kalinga traditional tattooing costing Php 750. The seminar, named Whang-od Academy, will reportedly “explain all the ceremonies, equipment, and methods for making tattoos,” according to the course’s speaker, Kalinga traditional tattoo artist Whang-od from Buscalan in Tinglayan, Kalinga.

However, according to Whang-od’s grandniece Gracia Palicas, the course was a “scam” – saying that her grandaunt did not sign any contract with Nas Daily or Nas Academy. According to a Facebook post, Palicas stated, “Some people are taking advantage of our culture. PLEASE HELP US STOP this disrespect to Apo Whang Od and the Butbot Tribe.” 

Moreover, this issue became more enormous after Louise Mabulo, the Cacao project founder, called out Nas Daily for his rude behaviour when he was visiting Mabulo’s hometown. According to her, Nas mocked the local accent and language – caring only on the number of clicks and views towards his contents. 

After these series of issues towards Nas, he then broke his silence. Nas Academy retaliated with a video of Whang-Od stamping her thumbprint on what looks to be a contract, despite Grace’s prior claim that her grandmother couldn’t comprehend the interpreters.

Moreover, he also counter argued Mabulo’s statements and reiterated his views against the Cacao project. According to Nas, “And one day, unfortunately, we stumbled upon a fake story in the Philippines which is the Cacao Project. On paper, it was supposed to be a non-profit that helps farmers. In reality, it’s for profit that exploits farmers.”

Despite having his videos as proof that there was a signed contract between him and Whang-od, it is still undeniable that Nas Daily is unfamiliar with the Philippine law, specifically Republic Act No. 8371 or also known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). When indigenous peoples’ knowledge is used for commercial purposes, they must give their free and prior informed  consent (FPIC).

This permission is obtained from all members of the ancestral domain, in this case the Butbut Tribe, rather than simply one person or her family. This is especially true of the Whang-od Academy, which will unveil the indigenous community’s customs to outsiders. Moreover, the parties’ agreement should be written in English and Kinalingga, and it should be witnessed by the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP).

Just like the saying “ignorance of the law excuses no one”, Nas experienced these unfortunate events first-hand, tarnishing his image as an influencer. However, this doesn’t mean its over for him. 

While a lot of people are calling him a liar, trying to cancel him, and also accuses him of PinoyBaiting. There is always two sides to the story. Hence, NAS Daily response to the people.

But let’s go back to the question what can entrepreneurs learn from this? What can we learn from NAS DAILY? Well, a lot actually but we’ll narrow them down to: What is pinoybaiting? How can we avoid or manage a social media crisis? And what is the “cancel culture”? 

PinoyBaiting

Over the years, the Philippines has slowly begun to gain the notice of people around the world. This is mainly due to famous tourist spots like Boracay, El Nido in Palawan, Cebu, Taal and Banaue rice terraces which are featured in travel vlogs on YouTube, usually by foreigners, and other social media platforms.

However, while there are foreigners professing their unconditional love for the Philippines in their blogs, some are probably using “pinoybaiting”. 

What is Pinoybaiting?

Via poop orange/YouTube

The Filipinos have an extraordinarily high usage time on social media making the Philippines the social media capital of the world. We have the most active social media users in the world, according to We Are Social and Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 Global Overview Report, spending an average of 4 minutes and 15 seconds every day on social media.

Pinoybaiting is a marketing strategy used by creators, often foreigners, to attract Filipino audiences and fans. These foreign youtubers or vloggers use exaggerated reactions, like “Oh my God, visiting the Philippines (or just watching the video) changed me!” or “I wasn’t expecting that” or “I’ve never seen anything more beautiful” that involves the Philippines in their plotline. As any of these variations can guarantee the vlogger instant “likes”, or if not subscribers. 

It’s also very effective because of the Filipinos’ thirst for global validation. And this is a real and unacknowledged inferiority complex that many Filipinos have. At first, we admit that it does give us a sense of satisfaction and it was okay to click likes in a few videos. However, we realize that these vloggers are just catering the Filipino’s  needs for validation. And ultimately, it just becomes one dirty way youtubers use to get famous. 

Can we do something about it?

It goes without saying that a large part of social media is built around the concept of reacting and receiving feedback. However, as with other forms of internet information, it all boils down into two things: moderation and education.

But don’t get us wrong, talking about what makes the Philippines unique may not be innately bad. But to do for only fame and money usually comes with a generous amount of deception and fabrication.

The truth is that if you’ve spent the last several years on social media and are well-versed in it, you won’t easily fall prey to these Pinoy Bait contents. Because alongside these pinoybaiters, we see a lot of peple who genuinely care about and are truly interested about the Philippines.

And it’s quite easy to differentiate pinoybaiters from those who actually provide a balanced feedback on people who have real, first-hand experiences of the country. We believe that the question remains that “As a Filipino, who will you follow?” And are you taking these videos and contents with a grain of salt?

5 Ways To Manage A Social Media Crisis

Social media platforms are one of the most appealing strategies small businesses implement with tight advertising budgets. However, they also come with great risks especially if one is carelessly managing their social media networking accounts and providing inappropriate communications planning on clients and target audiences.

But the key to a successful social media crisis mitigation is always about pre-crisis planning. We believe that the worst time to start planning for a social media crisis is when you are already in the middle of one. 

But how can we prepare for a crisis that we can’t see coming? Here are some tips:

1. Create a social media policy

Image from B&T

Start by ensuring that your team and employees have a clear social media policy. This means that they know what to post and what NOT to post. This can lessen the risk of someone from going rogue or sending your social media messages into a tailspin.

2. Listen to catch issues early

Image from become.co

Social listening can help greatly for your posts. It can help you find the most relevant and popular hashtags to increase your reach. Or help you discover new trends to write about that’ll help solidify you as a thought leader. 

But most importantly, it can help you get ahead of potential issues. If done well and consistently, this method can help prevent issues from turning into a full-blown crisis.

This is easily done by listening intently to gauge how people are feeling about a topic, or your brand. Understand the difference between grumblings and a significant change in sentiments towards your business.

3. Establish A Clear Crisis Communications Plan

Social media does present a huge potential for your brand awareness. But when it goes wrong, decisive action is needed to put out the fire and quickly too. This is in order to save your brand’s reputation or better yet, it escapes untarnished.

Crisis Communication

Crisis Communication refers to the relaying of information by your business or brand in order to address a crisis that impacts the customer’s view of the brand or the organization’s reputation.

In essence, reputation will always be there whether you manage it or not, so as a business you must take control or at least have some input about your narrative.

Crisis Communication Plan

Simply put, a crisis communication plan guarantees a quick release of information that must be consistent on all company platforms during a time of crisis.

Although the message will vary depending on what the crisis is and how all parties are affected by it. But what constitutes a crisis?

Crisis Scenario Examples

  • Financial –  Loss of finance such as announcing bankruptcy
  • Personnel – Changes to staff that affects operations or reputation such as employee layoffs
  • Organizational – A statement of apology for misconduct or wrongdoing as a result of company practices
  • Technological – A failure that results in outages causing some functionality loss
  • Natural – Could be a health crisis or weather crisis etc that needs a change of procedure for the safety of the personnels

While your strategies to implement will depend on what scenario you are dealing with, we’ve mentioned some common strategies that business could use to deliver an effective response.

Crisis Communication Strategies

1. Spokesperson Response

When your business makes a mistake, it doesn’t matter who did it, as long as it has hit the company’s reputation. The best thing one can do is to apologize and be human. And the most effective way to do so is to assign a spokesperson to speak on the brand’s behalf.

This spokesperson could be the CEO, an executive, or someone who is best suited to represent and relay the message of the company. But they must be a good communicator as their actions will undeniably influence how people will react.

If they are able to make your company look human and your crisis appears to be manageable, then that will play a major role in maintaining the people’s support.

2. Proactive Damage Control

Even if things are going smoothly, one must always prepare for a crisis to happen. This doesn’t mean that you become a pessimist. But rather, it makes you proactive.

By being proactive, you do what is necessary to reduce or prevent the effects of a crisis before it occurs. But this will again, vary greatly depending on your type of business.

If you handle online data, you can help protect and secure your online information with an added security software. Or if you are in  the food business, do regular training on how to handle food and customers.

3. Case Escalation

Sometimes, a crisis can also be resolved on an individual level before they ever reach a tipping point. For these types of cases, it would be best to create an escalation system that would diffuse the situation before it gets out of control.

4. Social Media Response

Social media is definitely a wonderful marketing tool that allows companies to reach audiences anywhere in the world. But it also works both ways, meaning your customers can share their experiences with you through photos or videos.

And so, being proactive means you are assigning an in-person to handle your digital buzz. Someone to monitor your social channels and update followers with new information. Essentially, social media must not be ignored when it comes to your company handling a crisis.

5. Customer Feedback Collection and Analysis

A crisis doesn’t only occur only when something is on the front page of the news or is going viral on your social platforms. It could also take the form of negative feedback that is silently affecting your customers and causing some mistrust on your brand. But you are unaware of it because you aren’t gathering enough comments from your customers.

Not just online but also in the real world. Gathering feedback from customers can also help you to prevent a crisis. Your best insights will always come from unsatisfied customers. So when you face a dissatisfied visitor, use their criticism to improve your other customer’s experiences.

In summary, the key to managing a social media crisis is timeliness. This means to respond within the hour or day of the crisis being spread. And your communication plan should include: 

  1. How you communicate internally on what’s happening
  2. How to determine what’s a crisis and what’s simply a disgruntled customer
  3. Approval process before posting on social media
  4. Pre-approved external messaging or a drafted message
  5. A link to your social media policy
  6. Who will do what and when per department affected

Remember that no matter how well we plan, your issues cannot be resolved with few well-timed posts. Rather, it’s important to know that people may look towards you for a response, but this first step can be as simple as acknowledging that there’s a problem, and to let people know that more information will be provided soon.

4. Pause Scheduled Posts

Image from Skip Prichard

For your social media posting, it is crucial to STOP all of your pre-scheduled posts. Because nothing says, “We don’t care what you think” more than posts that are irrelevant to a serious situation. And this will only make your brand look tone deaf and insensitive.

5. Acknowledge, but Don’t argue…well, not yet.

Never respond in the moment. Defending yourself too early or angrily will just create doubt of your sincerity. If you’ve already posted that you’ll be responding soon, you have time to create a video, a Press Release, or an official statement. In the meantime, keep your responses short and try to move away from being baited into another tweetstorm of what went wrong.

Just remember to never:

  • Prematurely delete comments that are negative
  • Block anyone who disagrees with you
  • Or take things personally and lose your brand voice

After working out the situation, it’s always important to note:

  • What started the crisis?
  • How can we stop that from happening again?
  • What can we do better next time?
  • What worked well this time?

Mistakes will always happen but the key message we want to send it a quick response that shows your customers that you care about them and are willing to go the extra mile to prove that you are a trustworthy brand.

The Good and Bad of the Cancel Culture

The cancel culture is a cultural boycott where “canceled” means that a group decides to stop supporting a person, place, or thing that’s based on a perceived or actual transgression.

“Cancel Culture” or “Call Out”, these terms can be used interchangeably. However, they do have a slight difference where the cancel culture simply doesn’t give the person or establishment the chance to learn from their mistakes. And is immediately and sometimes, permanently labeled as “bad”.

The Good

We agree that the cancel culture has a big role to play against sexism, racism, or any type of abuse or harmful wrongdoing to others.We need to acknowledge the good that comes from this practice.  

It has an agreement NOT to amplify, signal boost, give money to, anything that would intersect with abusive ideals. And holds people accountable for their actions that weren’t entirely possible in the past. 

In addition, the cancel culture has demanded great change to society while not shying from addressing the deep inequalities that keeps those oppressed, well..oppressed. It also allows:

  • Marginalized people to ask for liability where the justice system has failed.
  • Gives voices to those who are oppressed.
  • Boycott products, brands, and individuals to invoke changes to their system.

The Bad

While there is no excuse for being racist, homophobic or generally offensive. It’s also very difficult to judge people simply by their past actions. They may have changed over the years. 

There’s a fine line between offending people for a period, and another when a person or company continues to err their employees and customers. But basing an entire opinion on someone’s post on the internet is a dangerous way to make conclusions about anybody.

Getting called out is a good way for somebody to become educated and give them a chance to be a better person. But being quick to cancel somebody with limited evidence might not be the most moral route, especially if that person hasn’t constantly posted negative comments that carries to this day.

Mental Health Effects of Cancel Culture

When a community unites against someone who has done something unforgivable, it can be empowering. And it makes people think twice before behaving inappropriately or posting potentially offensive beliefs. But this also has negative influences on our mental health.

The Canceled

Cancelling often turns into bullying. And someone who has been canceled can make them feel isolated and lonely. Giving higher anxiety, depression, and suicide rates.

It can make that individual feel that everyone has given up on them, long before they have had the chance to apologize. Instead of creating a dialogue to help them learn how their words or actions have hurt others, the cancelers shut off all means of a positive endgame.

The Canceler

You have the right to set your boundaries and decide which uplifts you and which offends you. But there’s a limit to cancelling and public shaming and bullying an individual or company.

The Bystander

The cancel culture also affects the onlooker’s mental health. Seeing that a lot of people become cancelled, some can be plagued with fear and overwhelming anxiety that people will turn on them. Or others will find something in their past to use against them.

How to Protect Your Mental Health

Remember, you can’t control how others think or act. But you can control how you respond to these negativity. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Think twice before posting. 

Try not to post anything when you are feeling emotional or when someone does something to anger or push your buttons. Take a few deep breaths. Because, while you may forget. The internet remembers forever.

  • Spend less time online.

Take a break from social media. Unplug and improve your mental health. Because lessening your use of social media can decrease your level of anxiety, loneliness, and depression.

  • Talk to someone.

If you are experiencing the cancel culture firsthand, then consider reaching out to someone you trust. Because having someone to confide in can make a huge difference in the way we feel.

A Word for the Readers

Cancel culture can bring about the good in society by holding people and organizations accountable and liable for their bad actions. But, this can also take bullying to a dangerous level and might in fact damage the well-being of everyone who is involved.

The key to overcome this is to now allow the things said and done to you to define who you are as a person. And never be afraid to reach out for help to those you can trust.

Think Before You Click or Post

Everything boils down to proper social media etiquette and information literacy. In a virtual space where people across the globe continue to connect to each other, there is a need to always think before clicking. 

Sure, social media provides many platforms to create or run a cause, but at the same time, when you’re not fully equipped with the right knowledge and skills for it, it may result in ruining your image or someone else’s. 

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