Snapchat’s PR firm is suing an influencer for failing to influence

Being a social media “influencer” doesn’t just mean having the power to influence; it also means doing some actual influencing.

In an interesting case that’s just emerged, a so-called influencer has been named in a lawsuit for allegedly failing to fulfill the terms of their contract. The case involves Grown-ish actor Luka Sabbat and it’s been brought by a public relations company hired by Snap, the company behind Snapchat.

Social media influencers usually have a large online following, or strong links to a smaller audience in a niche area. They can then use their reach to command hefty payments — or valuable gifts and perks — in exchange for including a product in one of their online posts.

Sabbat, who has 1.4 million followers on Instagram, was approached by Snapchat’s public relations agency, PR Consulting (PRC), to do a spot of influencing for Spectacles 2, the latest edition of Snap’s camera glasses. The contract involved a deal worth $60,000, with $45,000 landing in the actor’s pocket upfront.

The lawsuit states that 20-year-old Sabbat was contracted to wear the specs in one of his Instagram feed posts and three Stories posts, two of which had to include swipe-to-buy links.

He was also expected to post Instagram photos of him wearing the specs at Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks.

The posts were supposed to be pre-approved by PRC, who also wanted to see the analytics data related to each of Sabbat’s Spectacles-related posts.

But PRC claims Sabbat failed to live up to his role of influencer, posting only one feed photo, one story, and one swipe-to-buy. Also, PRC said it never had a chance to pre-approve any of the content, and never saw any of the analytics data.

The suit also alleges that Sabbat “admitted his default” in failing to fulfill the terms of the contract but has “refused to return any of the funds paid to him by PRC.”

The public relations firm is seeking reimbursement of the up-front fee, plus another $45,000 in additional damages.

If the case goes in PRC’s favor, it could have a lasting effect — or should we say “influence” — on future cases where a celebrity fails to endorse a product in the way that was agreed in the contract, or at the least it could persuade celebrities who accept payments for online endorsements to take careful note of the contract’s conditions.

Still, if any publicity is good publicity, then perhaps this latest coverage won’t work out too badly for Snap and version two of its Spectacles. After all, following the apparent failure of the original Spectacles to set the world alight, it needs all the help it can get. Including from influencers that actually influence.

We’ve reached out to Snap for comment on the PRC case and will update this article if we hear back.


No cash. No talking. What goes next? Welcome to your ‘app-tive’ digital life

Bank of America's 2018 Trends in Consumer Mobility Report found mobility has changed our lives. Mobile tech influences how most of us communicate, meet people, build relationships, and handle money as we move toward a cashless society.

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Movies & TV

Winter coming in spring? HBO reveals 'Game of Thrones' season 8 premiere date

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.

Urban legends for the digital age: The best scary stories from the internet

In need of some simple scares this Halloween? We've combed the internet for the best creepypastas, urban legends, and scary stories. From found footage YouTube videos to a deceptively scary wiki, these stories are sure to spook.

WhatsApp finally gives in to the lure of cash-generating ads

WhatsApp's co-founders always said their messaging app would never show ads, but once the pair quit the company, it seemed inevitable that its owner, Facebook, would find a way to incorporate them.

Shazam hooks up with Instagram Stories for another way to share songs

The latest update for Apple-owned Shazam lets iPhone users share music tracks to Instagram Stories in a few quick taps. To enable the feature, just make sure you have the latest version of Shazam loaded on your handset.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.