‘(Ms Roberts') Instagram page promotes an image of young, slim, attractive people, so that viewers of the Instagram page would hopefully form the view that the cafe was a cool place to go,’ the VCAT finding read.
The dispute arose after Legacy owner Con 'Costa' Katsogiannis and Ms Roberts met to discuss his outstanding debt of $2,250. When Mr Katsogiannis went to count the number of posts on Ms Roberts' Instagram account he was shocked to find ‘the posts were not there’ and felt she ‘was seeking payment for nothing’.
Despite arguing that she’d only archived the old posts and that ‘90 per cent of the views of an image occur in the first week’, the cafe owner was still unhappy. He argued that the posts should remain ‘until the client expressly agrees that the image be archived’.
The VCAT ultimately found merit in Ms Roberts' claim that ‘new images are viewed more than old images’ and that, ‘in a general sense’, Mr Katsogiannis didn’t not lose value when the old posts were archived.
But the tribunal said they could not determine if the influencer was entitled to delete posts and ordered the cafe owner to pay the influencer two-thirds of the sum she sought.
The legal dispute comes as more Australian restauranteurs and reviewers are campaigning against the rise of reality stars and Instagram influencers charging money or asking for free food in exchange for social media posts, calling the scandal ‘couscous for comment.’
This week renowned food critic John Lethlean and Gold Coast restauranteur Simon Gloftis spoke out on the ABC about it, saying it should be regulated more. Simon went on to say that in can receive up to 15 requests in a day for free food and wine from influencers.