Tags: Hollywood | social media | instagram | influencers | documentary

Influencers Exposed! How They Fake Their Way to Fame

hbo logo
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 04 February 2021 10:57 AM

A new documentary is revealing how social media personalities fake their way to fame and "influencer status,” which can bring them a large income and many free items. Instagram influencers with followers that surpass 1 million can earn more than $250,000 per post from brands, according to CNBC Make It. It is little wonder social media users will do whatever it takes to gain a strong following, but how far will they go?

HBO's latest documentary "Fake Famous," which premieres Tuesday, sets out to answer that question by conducting an experiment. The film takes three Instagram users and transforms them into social media influencers.

The catch? They fake their way to fame by buying social media followers, photoshopping mundane locations to look like glamorous vacations, and more.

First, writer-director Nick Bilton embarks upon developing a strong presence on Instagram for his three participants, actress Dominique Druckman, student Wiley Heiner, and designer Chris Bailey. In order to help Druckman gain 250,000 followers, he goes online and purchases fake followers. The fake followers are generated by bots, programmed to seem like real people. For about $119.60 he was able to buy about 7,500 followers and 2,500 likes. He continued to do this slowly, so the social media platforms wouldn’t notice unusual activity, until Druckman reached her target.

"The reality of what all of this is, is that every single, solitary person on Instagram has fake followers, whether they bought them or they didn’t, because bots make up half of the engagement on the platform," Bilton told Variety. "The most astounding number to me was that 140 million people on Instagram had over 100,000 followers and 40 million have over 1 million followers. So you’re going to tell me that 140 million people are famous? The whole thing is such bulls**t and everyone buys into it."

Bilton also set up fake photoshoots. For one photo, he had Druckman pose in her backyard then geotagged the pics to the Beverly Hills Four Seasons and the Viceroy resort in Santa Monica, CNBC Make It reported. He also rented out a mansion as well as a fake private jet studio to sell a luxurious lifestyle to followers.

"They fake all-expenses paid, free camping trips, so that later they can get a free, all-expense paid camping trip," he said in the documentary. "They fake hiking in the Redwoods so they can try and get free hiking gear and sponsorships. They fake free upgrades to first class or trips on private planes."

The efforts paid off. The three "fake influencers" ended up with massive followings as well as offers from brands hoping to be featured in their posts.

"Dominique’s life has completely changed: She gets free stuff; she goes on more auditions," Bilton told Variety. "There was this one moment we didn’t have in the film where her mom came to visit her in L.A. and they’re trying to get a reservation at a fancy restaurant — before the pandemic, of course — and her mom said, 'Oh my daughter’s an influencer,' and they get the reservation. Going into it I knew it had an impact, but I didn’t know the degree to which the perception of these numbers affects the impact."

© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


TheWire
A new documentary is revealing how social media personalities fake their way to fame and "influencer status," which can bring them a large income and many free items. Instagram influencers with followers that surpass 1 million can earn...
social media, instagram, influencers, documentary
534
2021-57-04
Thursday, 04 February 2021 10:57 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved