Influencers Gone Wild: The Dark Side of Social Media
Social media has given birth to a new breed of celebrity known as influencers. These individuals have amassed huge followings on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok and are often paid thousands of dollars to promote products or services to their audiences. Although many influencers use their platforms for good purposes, there have been instances where some have engaged in questionable behavior which has caused controversy and drawn negative attention to the world of social media influencers.
One of the most notorious examples of influencers gone wild is the Fyre Festival scandal. In 2017, entrepreneur Billy McFarland organized a luxury music festival in the Bahamas, promising attendees top-tier acts, gourmet food, and luxurious accommodations. High-profile influencers like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid were paid to promote the event on social media by posting glamorous photos and videos taken on their private island.
However, when attendees arrived at the festival site they discovered poorly constructed tents, a lack of food and water, as well as no music acts. As a result, the cancellation of the festival occurred, leaving hundreds stranded on the island. McFarland was ultimately sentenced to six years in prison for fraud.
Recently, influencers have been posting revealing photos and videos online with some claiming it was accidental or the result of hacking. But some observers question whether these incidents are truly accidental or intentional attempts to gain attention and gain more followers. These incidents have raised concerns about their influence over young audiences as well as what impact these individuals may have on body image and self-esteem levels.
Another example of influencers gone wild is the Brittany Dawn scandal. Brittany Dawn, a fitness influencer, faced backlash in 2020 when clients reported paying for personalized meal and workout plans that never arrived. Dawn apologized and offered refunds to her customers but the incident sparked an extensive dialogue about accountability for influencers and transparency. Some observers argue that influencers need to be held to the same standards as traditional businesses and subjected to regulations and oversight just like everyone else.
In 2018, social media was abuzz with the “Momo Challenge,” an image of a woman with bulging eyes and distorted smile that encouraged children to engage in violent behaviors. Though ultimately revealed as a hoax, the challenge served to highlight the potential dangers of influencers and their effect on impressionable audiences. Some critics argue that influencers must use their platforms for good and be mindful of the messages they promote.
There have been plenty of examples on social media of influencers going wild with their platforms, but there are also many examples where influencers use their platforms for good. Some promote body positivity, mental health awareness and social justice causes with their voices; serving as role models to young people by inspiring them to use their platforms in positive ways and make a difference in the world.
In influencers gone wild , Social media influencers have the capacity to reach millions of people with a single post, making them powerful forces in modern culture. While some influencers have gone rogue, engaging in questionable behavior or spreading harmful messages, there are also numerous examples of influencers using their platforms for good. While the responsibility that comes along with being influential on social media will continue to be debated, setting positive examples and using your platforms to effect change will enable influencers to have an everlasting effect on our world.