Oil companies like BP, Chevron and Shell are paying social media influencers. Here’s why

Oil companies like BP, Chevron and Shell are paying social media influencers. Here’s why

Oil companies are paying influencers to promote fossil fuels among the youth. A report by news agency AFP noted that young celebrities who are best known for posting content about video games, dogs, and holidays are unexpectedly making plugs for gas stations, fuel rewards and club cards. 

The report found cases of major oil companies like BP. Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and TotalEnergies pay users for promoting fossil fuel products in India, Mexico, South Africa and the United States via posts on social media platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitch. 

Another investigation by news site DeSmog found more than 100 influencers who had been paid to promote oil and gas companies including a Filipina grandmother who usually posts about her family.  

Why are oil companies paying influencers? 

The AFP report while quoting analysts noted that companies are targetting young people on social media in order to increase revenue from oil and gas-based businesses with many countries seeking cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels in order to limit global warming. 

Melissa Aronczyk, a professor of communication and information at Rutgers University, explained the rationale behind such promotions, saying that many young people are aware of the urgency of the climate crisis and have a negative view of fossil fuel companies, which are now trying to build ‘social capital’ with these audiences.

Oil companies respond: 

ExxonMobil spokesperson Lauren Kight told AFP, “ExxonMobil, like many companies, works with influencers to educate consumers about the full benefits of our fuel rewards program,”

Moreover, an unnamed Shell spokesperson noted that the company used advertising and social media to promote its low-carbon products without citing any examples.



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Updated: 30 Aug 2023, 12:39 PM IST

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Author: Shirley