From a platform intended to share moments with your friends, Instagram has become something completely different. Nowadays it’s a game and a competition, and many people go great lengths to become or at least appear popular on this social network. In this documentary from VPRO Extra, you get to see all the crazy things people do to seem popular, and it takes you behind the scenes of “the Wild West called Instagram.”
The documentary follows Nicolaas Veul and the making and growing of the account @followme.doc. It was originally published on IGTV; perhaps that’s why it’s vertical. Nicolaas tries all the tips and tricks to gain popularity, interviews key Instagram players and influencers and reflects on his findings.
At the very beginning of the documentary, you hear words: “Instagram is one big façade, it’s as fake as can be.” And nowadays, it’s definitely true. People do all kinds of things to fake travels, followers, and comments. On the other hand, there are people who want to expose this entire charade. For example, Instagram star Gabbie Hanna recently faked a trip to Coachella to prove how easy it is to cheat on this social network. Photographer Trey Ratcliff even wrote an entire book about how easy it is to fake influence.
Lately, Instagram itself has started working on reducing fake likes and followers. Its parent company, Facebook, recently filed a lawsuit against a New Zealand-based company that offered these services. In addition, Instagram is testing hiding the Like counts from your audience. It’s an attempt to shift focus from quantity to quality again, as it was initially the idea. Still, people keep finding ways to cheat, and my guess is that the battle against it will be very long and difficult.
[Why fake accounts dominate Instagram | #followme | vpro extra]