Wow! What a REELY interesting and exciting start to the Fake News Project!
Now, you may be a social media enthusiast, you may just think I can’t spell, or you may simply have missed my spelling ‘mistake’ in the past sentence. But actually there’s a reason for this ‘mistake’. Reels are an element of Instagram and this week has been all about Instagram influencers!
(Side Note: Spelling mistakes can indicate fake news. Don’t worry this blog isn’t fake news but be sure to be vigilant if you spot them online, especially in relation to profile names…)
This week we invited three influencers to speak to the young people in the participating schools about their experiences and opinions of fake news online. They provided a great deal of food for thought around the good, the bad and the deceptive sides of social media, having experienced this themselves with very large followings. Feel free to check their profiles out using the usernames below.
Up first, we had Harriotte who spoke to pupils at Notre Dame High School. Her online presence focuses on beauty and in particular beauty pageants where she is crowned Miss UK International. Next, in a similar fashion (pardon the pun), we had Bushra. She spoke to pupils at Hillhead High School about her previous career in banking and how she got into lifestyle blogging.
Interestingly, they both discussed how to detect fake profiles and their experiences with these. They shared the useful tool of Social Blade, which can be used to check Instagram accounts and detect any abnormalities in followers, for example if followers have been bought and there is a sudden spike in the number of followers. It’s crazy, you can buy followers! It also seems that the infamous blue tick, is not all it appears to be! Despite some regulations, it seems there is means and ways around the process!
They also discussed editing photos, using various platforms such as Face Tune and Photoshop. The young people seemed very interested in this and how it related to body image. They both discussed how they don’t alter their appearance but often change lighting and backgrounds. So, it turns out that those beautiful empty beaches you often see on influencers profiles aren’t actually empty but edited! Crazy, right?
Bushra also shared with the young people that she likes to show her followers a before and after editing of her posts. I think this is a fantastic way of highlighting creativity and transparency! What are your thoughts on this? See below for an example of her work.
Last but not least, we had Phoebe, who led a novel discussion on her fashion blog with Whitehill Secondary School. The day before the session, she had run a giveaway with her followers. Unfortunately, this led to fake accounts imitating her profile being created and sadly Instagram deleting her account. The fake accounts had misspelled usernames and were asking followers for personal details. Despite the devasting impact of this, Phoebe gave an interesting talk using this example to emphasise the importance of detecting fake accounts and being vigilant online.
We would like to thank Harriotte, Bushra and Phoebe for a great week!