Why are we following them? Influencers Acting Bizarre for Fame and Fortune

Living Journalism

Why are we following them? Influencers Acting Bizarre for Fame and Fortune

In recent years, social media influencers have taken the world by storm, building their profiles and reputation in various ways. While some focus on specific areas of expertise or showcase their entertaining personalities, others have built successful careers around healthy lifestyle advice. However, a new breed of influencers has emerged, using bizarre and often dangerous stunts to amass a massive following and earn hefty compensation. With questionable morality and increasingly extreme antics, these influencers are changing the game and leaving us all wondering, at what cost?

The rise of influencer marketing has completely transformed the world of advertising and content creation. Behind this phenomenon lies the immense power of brands that invest in these influential figures. The influencer marketing industry has captured the attention of experts and CEOs worldwide as the way of advertising has undergone a significant shift over the past decade. As a result, influencer marketing has emerged as the most popular form of marketing for every company today.

From beauty and fashion to airlines, any type of product or service can be seen in influencers' advertising posts. Influencers have become the ideal medium between products and consumers due to the way content is generated and disseminated – it is fast, attractive, and easy to assimilate. Consumers are exposed to a large amount of advertising without even realizing it and are, therefore, more susceptible to it.

To better understand the influencer phenomenon and the money, power, and interests that lie behind it, let us examine some revealing data provided by The State of Influencer Marketing 2023 Report. According to it, 82% of businesses surveyed expressed high levels of satisfaction with influencer marketing and plan to allocate a budget from their marketing area towards influencer advertising. The report also reveals that TikTok has emerged as the most popular platform among brands engaged in influencer marketing. With over 1 billion monthly active users, brands find it easier to reach a wider audience on TikTok. Moreover, many brands also use TikTok to gain followers and redirect them to Instagram, which pays the highest for advertising.

However, with the primary measure of influencer marketing success being views/reach/impressions, it is not surprising to see some influencers resorting to extreme challenges, and bizarre and dangerous activities in order to obtain more visits and followers. This trend highlights the pressure on influencers to create content that grabs the audience's attention and meets the demands of brands.

Let's give you some examples of bizarreness and harm influencers can cause!

1. Andrew Tate: From a motivational coach to a misogynistic influencer

At the end of the year 2022, everyone who has any social media platform heard the news about the arrest of influencer Andrew Tate in Romania. He was arrested shortly after an argument on Twitter with Greta Thunberg. The majority of people were celebrating his arrest, but his fans were sticking up for him. He may now be de-platformed and in prison, but his messages and values, unfortunately, live on.

Ex-kick-boxer became famous in 2016 when he appeared in the British version of the TV reality show Big Brother. He ended up being removed because someone released tapes where he was attacking a woman. Tate denied it and said it was fake. He became active on social media, mainly TikTok, where he uploaded short motivational videos. He was advising men how to become a real manly man - luxurious life, money, cars, girls, and muscles. From a motivational coach he became a misogynistic influencer. Some of his most controversial opinions were that women should have no rights, they only belong to the kitchen and so on.

How does social media react? He was banned from Twitter after he said that women should "bear responsibility" for being sexually assaulted. But after Elon Musk bought Twitter, his account has returned, and he has more than 5 million followers. On other platforms, he is still banned. Before he was banned on TikTok, his account had 11,6 million views.

2. Nikocado Avocado: Mukbang Meltdowns

One example of a bizarre influencer is Nikocado Avocado, a YouTube personality known for his "mukbangs" – videos of himself eating large amounts of fast food while appearing to have severe mental breakdowns. Despite his content's disturbing and unhealthy nature, Nikocado Avocado has amassed over 8.1 million subscribers across his channels, and his main channel videos often receive over 1 million views.

It is important to highlight the responsibility of Nikocado Avocado's followers in enabling this kind of content. While the influencer may receive more views and earn more money as a result, this kind of self-harmful behaviour should not be promoted or encouraged.

3. Jake Paul: "Pester Power"

Next on our list is Jake Paul, one of the original YouTube vloggers who still actively posts content on his channel. However, there are concerns about the targeting of his influencing efforts, particularly towards children. Jake employs tactics such as "pester power," which encourages children to ask their parents to buy products or services. This practice is illegal in the EU and prohibited by the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.

According to Forbes, Jake Paul's net worth is an astounding $38 million, making him one of the top 10 content creators in the world. However, what is even more concerning about Jake's content is its sexual nature. Given that his audience primarily consists of preschool-aged children, the potential impact of such content on young minds raises many questions.

4. Russian influencers and propaganda

Another concerning case involves a group of Russian influencers who were recruited to spread pro-Kremlin messages regarding the war in Ukraine. Various recruitment campaigns were launched following Russia's invasion, with instructions provided via a secret Telegram channel. The channel served as a medium for TikTok influencers to record and publish content according to specific guidelines.

The Telegram group chat had 500 members before it was shut down after an inquiry by Vice News. Such forms of influencing are harmful as they seek to manipulate and spread propaganda rather than providing accurate information.

While influencers have been removed from the platforms in some cases, their messages and values, unfortunately, still have a presence online. It is crucial for individuals and social media companies alike to actively combat harmful ideologies and ensure that their platforms are not contributing to the spread of hate, harm and disinformation.

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