Mark Zuckerberg's Meta has a new PR nightmare to deal with: its proliferation of counterfeit fashion.
A study conducted by Ghost Data from June to October 2021 found that the two social media sites hosted a total of over 46,000 active accounts run by counterfeiters. Features such as direct messages and Instagram Stories, both of which support time-limited "disappearing" content, make it easier for users to hawk fake designer wares in a somewhat private space.
Of course, Meta isn't the only company dealing with fakes. Subreddits including r/fashionreps, r/designerreps, r/qualityreps, and r/couturereps exist for the sole purpose of finding and discussing convincing counterfeits — the latter even provides a master guide to producing and selling replicas.
TikTok is also a goldmine of dupes. The hasthtag #dupesnation boasts over 5 million views, and some users even show off their newly acquired fake goods "haul videos."
While the sale of counterfeit goods on social media platforms might not seem like a very novel or pressing phenomenon (in fact, Instagram's dupe problem has been around for years), it's a pretty dire situation for Mark Zuckerberg and Meta — Reuters' unfortunately timed report only exacerbates the company's continued struggle to rehabilitate its public image.
In case you need a refresher: the tech giant was panned for changing its name to Meta amid a series of scandals including whistleblower Francis Haugen's testimony; Meta's stock market value tanked after it reported waning revenue; the company's virtual reality program, Horizon Worlds, introduced safety features after one beta tester was groped in the metaverse.
It's difficult not to compare Meta: A Unfortunate Series of Events to Peloton's recent fall from grace, a saga that's seen the workout bike company go from pandemic darling to TV character killer to lay-off central.