F.From my early days online when I started writing an anonymous blog [Liberty London Girl] As a fashion designer in New York 14 years ago, I never wanted to pretend my seemingly effortlessly glamorous lifestyle was affordable for a media salary since so much of it was branded. I’ve always believed that when you cover these things on social media, you should disclose when you received a product or your trip was provided for free, and that it is wrong to imply that this type of life is achievable without Insider Access.
There has always been an issue on Instagram with influencers disclosing their commercial affiliations as the entire platform goes into the concept of promoting a perfect life. Whether you are a gardener in Somerset, a mum blogger in Birmingham or a Fitspo influencer in Kent, when that perfect life is indeed impossible without being drawn to money deals, press samples and access to exclusive events, then this perfect idea comes up Life crash. It’s no wonder some influencers skew their moral compass by doing everything they can to obscure the truth that much of their lifestyle would be impossible without a steady stream of “gifts” and collaboration.
Sasha Wilkins: “My favorite picture of Lockdown was the avenue of trees I drive through to get to the supermarket.” Photo: David M Benett / Getty Images
While failure to disclose commercial affiliations was one way of twisting the truth on Instagram, another growing problem has been the use of filtered images. Although many of us use Photoshop or Facetune to increase the saturation of a sky like any photographer would with a raw image, manipulating a face or body is a whole different matter. The temptation to change a bad angle is always there, not least because it’s difficult not to look at other women’s pictures on social media and to wish for yourself – and I am a grown woman with my feet on the ground. I can’t imagine what it must be like when younger women are constantly bombarded with images of unattainable standards of beauty.
As a measure, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced that influencers shouldn’t use filters to exaggerate beauty product results. I totally agree that manipulated images have no place in promoting skin care product effectiveness, but I think the ASA and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) don’t necessarily understand the industry they are trying to regulate, not least of all, because they insist on talking about filters. The problem is much broader.
The recent bad behavior of influencers was not limited to “forgetting” forgotten campaigns and PR samples and reshaping noses and breasts. Certain influencers shared deaf-mute content from vacation hotspots during a global health crisis. Her unwavering belief that her audience only wants to post pictures with bathing suits and cocktails shows a lack of imagination. If Liz Hurley can make it possible to stand topless in a muddy field in Ledbury, I’m pretty sure that all of these Fitspo influencers currently in Dubai could figure out something that isn’t about being in to get on a plane.
Much of my online constituency followed me when I was in Manhattan. Fast forward to now and my food contains snow and dogs. My favorite picture of Lockdown was the avenue of trees I drive through to get to the supermarket. The point is, you can keep developing your content: my main takeaway from the 14 years I’ve been on social media is that as long as you are authentic, people stick with you.
As Ellie Violet tells Bramley