Sinister social media

essena

Essena O’Neill, a teenage ‘Instagram star’ from Australia, has made an emotional statement about the dark side of social media by deleting 2,000 photos, editing the captions of her remaining posts to say things such as “THERE IS NOTHING REAL ABOUT THIS”, and then deleting her account all together.

With half a million followers, Essena used to earn cash from her posts but now says it left her feeling ‘empty’ and ‘addicted to likes’. She’s posted a video in which she vows to act against the ‘unhealthy’ ideals of social media and set up a website. Her site has a section called ‘behind the image’, which serves a similar purpose to re-captioning her posts.

Essena’s campaign is highlighting the truth behind paid content on social media platforms. To the untrained eye, these posts could be innocent selfies, but with that much exposure for brands to trusting audiences – and as much as $2,000 to be made per post for its ‘celebrities’ – Instagram is worth a lot to both parties. That is, for as long as sly paid content lasts.

This originally appeared in Moving Brands Wednesday 20151104.

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