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#BlockOut24 spreads to MY, targets Michelle Yeoh, Neelofa, Ruhainies and more

#BlockOut24 spreads to MY, targets Michelle Yeoh, Neelofa, Ruhainies and more

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The #BlockOut24 movement, a campaign where social media users block influencers or celebrities who have remained silent amidst the ongoing war between Gaza and Israel, has landed in Malaysia.

The Malaysian block list includes stars such as actresses Michelle Yeoh and Neelofa as well as comedian Sheila Rusly, influencer Ruhainies and actress and singer Janna Nick.

Don't miss: #BlockOut24 for dummies: 101 on the movement forcing influencers to take a stand

The list was posted on Facebook by user Liena Bunkerz as has since been reshared on other platforms. 

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Since the post, netizens have come out with varying responses. Some have agreed that these celebrities should be boycotted while others have critisised the movement as being extreme. 

According to media intelligence firm Carma, conversations on social media in Malaysia about #BlockOut2024 are 16.1% positive and 41.3% negative.

The negative conversations stem from netizens criticising those who are not taking part in the boycott, said CARMA. 

Singer Naim Daniel reportedly said in a now deleted post on X that Malaysians should not be condemning these celebrities as religious etiquette calls for them not to be excessive, according to The Straits Times. The post was reportedly criticised and Daniel filed a police report against someone who threatened to "slaughter" the singer's parents if he met them. 

What is #BlockOut24?

#BlockOut24 is a movement where social media users collectively block influencers or celebrities who have not used their platforms for people in need and who have remained silent in the face of the ongoing war.  

According to CARMA, the hashtag picked up mentions following the Met Gala on May 6 which saw Hollywood's biggest and greatest walking the red carpet in astounding displays of wealth while people in Gaza continued to suffer. 

The effort was started by a number of TikTok creators and hopes to put pressure on celebrities to use their platforms to advocate for ceasefire calls. 

How does blocking a celebrity or influencer aid the movement? 

Considering that social media celebrities rely on views, engagement, followers and general visibility, blocking them will reduce their engagement metrics.

With less engagement and interaction, social media algorithms will begin to deprioritise their content. 

This will in turn affect the brand deals that they are able to attract which is often a crucial source of income particularly for influencers.

From a marketing standpoint, the potential for Blockout 2024 to shape the creator space across the world is "huge", according to Lee Chin Chuan, Country Manager, Malaysia at AnyMind Group.

This affects the potential reach and effectiveness of creator content, which in turn shapes the success of influencer marketing campaigns, he said, adding:

Marketers who do not pay heed to this stand to lose out not just in the short term but may also incur long-term implications for their brand.

Why do marketers need to pay attention to #BlockOut24?

#BlockOut2024 is more than a TikTok trend. It is representative of a significant shift in the way consumers perceive influencers, celebrities and big brands.

"It’s cancel culture on steroids," said Sunny Johar, managing director and head of digital strategy at KRDS. 

As marketers, the most immediate takeaway should be re-examining your influencer strategy, added Johar. Even prior to #BlockOut2024, netizens were becoming savvy about a lack of authenticity in influencer marketing, coupled with adjacent macro trends against over-consumption, such as deinfluencing and no buy.

"This digital uprising first started months ago with influencer brand trips being seen as tasteless. Netizens felt the money could've been better spent rewarding loyal customers or donated to make a difference, and started boycotting certain brands," she explained. 

Netizens have always been vocal about out-of-touch celebrities and brands. However, the key difference today is that digitally savvy Gen Zers are taking action, she said. "With platforms such as TikTok democratising algorithms, everyday users are leveraging their power to diminish the influence of certain celebrities, influencers, and brands they find unworthy of the spotlight."

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Study: 82% in SEA make purchasing decisions based on influencers and celebrities

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