Think you can believe what you see on social media?
Ask Trey Ratcliff, Robert Mueller and Mark Zuckerberg about that.
All three pretty much confirmed the answer to the question this week.
The photographer Ratcliff released a new book in which he details how easy it was to create a fake Instagram account and game it with bought followers, likes and comments, in return for offers of cash, free trips and goods. The book’s title: “Under the Influence – How to Fake Your Way Into Getting Rich on Instagram: Influencer fraud, Selfies, Anxiety, Ego, and Mass Delusional Behavior.”
Then the “Mueller Report,” the look into possible Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential campaign, was finally released, albeit with redactions and It zeroed in on how the Russians played social media to sell their preferred candidate Donald Trump to the public, through false statements and reports.
And in the latest admission about things that were way worse than originally seemed, it emerged that Zuckerberg and his Facebook had stored “millions” of unencrypted Instagram users passwords on Facebook servers. Facebook had originally said it was just “tens of thousands.”
How safe is your personal information with the social network?
I think we know the answer.
But let’s take a look at Instagram, the site of happy people who look beautiful, take great, expensive vacations, have lots of friends and lead a better life than you do, or so it seems. The site is ripe with “influencers,” people like the Kardashians, Zach King and Andrew Bachelor, whose sponsored posts usually showcases them with products in their hands.
According to Ratcliff, some $2 billion was spent on influencer marketing in 2017, a number he says will grow to $10 billion by 2020.
Ratcliff, himself a social media “influencer,” with over 5 million followers, mostly from his popular Stuck in Customs blog, says Facebook and Instagram, which the social media titan owns, “create a false narrative that makes the rest of us feel like losers,” so he set out to expose it, with the phony @Genttravel account, in the hopes that changes would start to be made.
After showing how easy it is to buy followers, likes and comments from sites, Ratcliff is hopeful that Facebook will eventually see the light and clean up its act.
“Otherwise, we’re sitting on top of this false economy where you can’t believe anything you see, and people feel they don’t add up,”…