Indian “Influencers” Have The Third Highest Number Of Fake Followers On Instagram. Is Your Favourite Blogger The Real Deal?

Instagram bloggers and influencers are a whole mood…their sleek looking social pages are a world apart from our a regular person’s raw and genuine look. Up until a couple of years ago, being an influencer wasn’t considered a viable career option. These people are living their best life on social media platforms and we live vicariously through them. Lavish hotel stays, designer pieces and high-end makeup is being showered on these bloggers. All of this has been possible because of the success of influencer marketing. Companies and brands shelling out huge amounts of money on them, because having their products recommended by a peer in the industry, works! The industry has also benefitted from genuinely talented individuals, who create amazing content and are the only good thing about this now seemingly murky industry.

But the fact that any person who knows how to do wield a makeup brush, has some sense of fashion and can afford a photographer can earn the tag of an influencer seems entirely illogical. And if you have good instincts and wondered as to how the whole thing can be legitimate, it’s probably not.

A recent study by Swedish e-commerce start-up A Good Company and data analytics firm HypeAuditor revealed that many influencers in India thrive on fake followers. And given our penchant for bringing the freshest tea in the business, we had to call this out!

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According to Anders Ankarlid, CEO of A Good Company, he said, “Companies are pouring money into influencer marketing, thinking that they are connecting with real people and not Russian bots. In reality, they are pouring money down the drain and giving away free products to someone who acquired a mass-following overnight.”, he elaborated.

The study analysed 1.84 million Instagram accounts in 82 countries. It revealed the top three regions with the highest number of bought followers on Instagram. The results being the US (49 million), Brazil (27 million) and India (16 million). This might not be news to people who know how the business works, but the problem seems to go deeper than just inflating their follower count. Their engagements are boosted, they pay for likes and it has been costing companies a lot of money in losses because of the illegitimacy.

This revelation has come out after the news about Instagram hiding ‘Like’ counts in some countries, including Japan and Australia. Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, said in a statement “We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,”. This move hopes to take better care of the platform’s young users who are imprisoned the most from the huge likes on filtered posts.

So how do we separate the legitimate influencers from the ‘fakes’? If the followers, likes and engagements are bought, how do we trust a certain content creator? Unfortunately, right now there does not seem to a model to filter through the noise. Users have to decide for themselves who they wish to follow, based on who they genuinely like. IMO, we should keep it simple. Like a certain bloggers’ aesthetic, follow them. Find a certain beauty guru’s message relatable, like their posts. As for the impact this has on companies, we do not know how long influencer marketing can keep its shine anyway. We shall see!

Sumona Bose

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