Last month, an in-depth report by The Atlantic broke down how fake influencers are taking advantage of social media platforms like Instagram to portray sponsorships. Brands are now being hit hard by the loophole and are reportedly losing $200 million USD (approx. £157 million GBP) on said influencers, in a study by New York marketing company Captiv8.
The report highlighted social spending and pinpointed that brands paid as much as $2.1 billion USD (approx. £1.65 billion GBP) to influencers in 2017. 11-percent of those profiles were fake pointing to the fact that money was wasted.
ELLE UK reports that previous studies have proven that fake accounts “can be entirely constructed.” Past studies have shed light on accounts featuring a model who was hired to star in numerous shoots, but the corresponding online identity isn’t real. Additionally, images on a fake profile could be taken from other users or stock photo agencies.
Last November, Instagram announced it would be cracking down on fake users, likes and followers. Instagram and the Advertising Standards Authority have changed rules surrounding ads. Both parties have stated that influencers and celebrities must make it clear when they’re being paid to share a post. With money involved, it wouldn’t be surprising if fake influencers are next in line to be taken seriously.