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Would-be Instagram “stars” are faking sponsored content for social kudos, The Atlantic reports.

The report dives into a number of examples in which users have manufactured posts that mock up the appearance of brand affiliation. The reason? It’s a sign of success — people have become aware of the rewards on offer to successful Instagram influencers.

In The Atlantic’s report, “Sponcon” pro Taylor Evans explains how she faked the purpose of a Miami vacation to make it look like a press trip: “I took a lot of pics at restaurants and posted, ‘Thanks so much XYZ restaurant for the hospitality!’ You say it in a way that people could interpret it as you having an established relationship with that brand. The hope is that it’s perceived in a way that looks like there’s a reason you’re in a different city and state, not just enjoying a weekend vacation.”

Another user, Sydney Pugh, spoke of how she faked an ad for a local cafe chain, despite purchasing the drink herself. “Instead of [captioning] ‘I need coffee to get through the day,’ mine will say ‘I love Alfred’s coffee because of A, B, C.'”

If you’re interested in learning more about how the world will look in 2019 and beyond, read The Atlantic’s full report here.

Would you ever fake sponsored content to look cool on Instagram or does this concept make you want to leave the planet? Let us know in the comments.

Now, here’s how to cancel Kanye West-related content from your news feed.

Staff Writer
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