Beware the fake influencer: buying followers, blue ticks and only it for the money

Do you care about influencers, social media and the ‘blue tick’?


I disappear from social media for days or weeks at a time.

Instagram and living my life online are my last priorities.

As much as I love my followers, my kids, family, and mental health all come first equally.

There are a variety of ‘influencers’ online these days, depending on their niché.

Social media is a great way to get lost down a rabbit hole of dance reels and funny videos if you need a break from daily life.

However, there is an element of social media and ‘the influencer’ that you follow or are ‘influenced’ by, that you should care about.

The ‘blue tick’ indicates that an individual, business, or group is ‘verified’ on Instagram.

What does ‘verified’ mean?

It used to mean the Instagram user had to request the blue tick from Meta with supporting media or press packages to prove that they were a ‘somebody’ basically.

The MAFS media team do this for majority of the cast.

Now, anyone who considers themselves a creator can pay a subscription fee to have the blue tick! Whether you have 10,000 followers or 50, you can purchase status.

Having the blue tick now really means nothing.

Fake, fraud – whatever term suits the wrongdoers.

I’m not talking about all influencers of course.

Many influencers create amazing content and promote products or services in an ethical way.

I’m identifying the influencer that does the following:

  • doesn’t disclose ads, sponsorships or paid partnerships (and they know that they should),
  • would promote a paper bag if it gave them a pay day,
  • has bought followers or faked engagement.

They falsify their experiences to you, the consumer, for a quick buck.

They’ll promote anything and everything they’re offered.

They’ll badger brands for deals.

They’ll likely not have your best interests at heart.

They are simply about making money, regardless of the product.

For example:

Think about an influencer that promotes various makeup, skin and/or hair products from different brands constantly…

Trying and testing products on yourself takes time; a hair treatment you only try once isn’t going to fix your hair overnight.

No one’s hair or skin is the same and not all products work the same for everyone.

You can’t tell me that every single product they’re given works perfectly every time.

What we should be asking influencers is:

“How many products, brand deals or sponsorships are you actually turning down?”

Fake followers or ‘bots’ can be purchased online.

According to LinkedIn, ‘’ was the best site; at a small fee of $13.99 for 1000 new followers. Bargain!

Other sites I tried accessing for pricing were blocked by my computer’s security – so you’d really be desperate to find a way around these measures.

So, why do people buy followers?

Popularity, influencer job prospects and business sales.

Some people think that if you have thousands of followers, that makes you eligible for regular paid social media content.

Not true.

You need authentic and organic engagement from your followers.

You also need to post regularly and post meaningful content.

That’s why I’m not an influencer.

I go weeks at a time without posting.

When I do, it is usually just pictures of me looking like that (image left)…

And my engagement is inconsistent – it’s high when I’m constantly posting and non-existent when I take even a few days off IG.

Buying followers especially is dishonest not only to the consumer but to the business wanting to use the influencer as well.

It is also especially embarrassing when you’re called out on buying followers by fellow influencers.

Because those that have a large following, have generally gained them organically from hard work, promotion and authentic content and don’t like it when people fake it.

I was recently scammed on a gift I purchased online.

Then again, I should have done my due diligence.

I know better now.

I tend to look up a business on IG to see their pictures and follower count.

This small business had over 100k followers – amazing!

It must be reputable, right?

Not always.

I should have looked past the aesthetic photos and large following.

The items I purchased became defective within one week.

I was disappointed; this was an expensive gift, the quality of the materials was terrible to not even last a week and as this was a gift, I was embarrassed as the giver.

I was going to message the company to complain.

Instead, I went on and checked their followers and photos.

I should have clicked on the actual photos before.

This business posts nearly daily and not a single comment on about 95% of them.
If a person or business has well over 100k followers, there would generally be a few comments at the very least (unless restricted/comments have been turned off).

When Instagram pages look like this, they are generally bots:

Or when they look like this, they may likely be a fake account:

A fake account is created by a user who already has one main IG account they’d use for family, friends, people they like following etc.

In this case (image left), this person has no followers at all, but is following 217 accounts – one being my own.

And here, are just some of the people that this fake account follows.

Many are MAFS people.

So, I could assume that this is either:

  • a troll account or,
  • a person who was a former MAFS participant keeping tabs on others without wanting us to know that they’re viewing our stories/content.

Back to the scam business I purchased from.

Do your research.

I’ve written my purchase off as a learning exercise.

Read reviews and don’t just rely on social media.

Keep an eye on these things:

  • Profile name/handle is made up, obscure or doesn’t match the images posted.
  • The account is following thousands of people, where they may have only a few dozen or so accounts following them.
  • The account is blocked. If not blocked, they may have only a few random photos.
  • No profile picture or a random photo e.g. a flower, cartoon, a saying, or a person of interest.

As much shit as influencers get, there are many great ones out there.

It make take time for a full-time influencer to learn their craft and the right versus wrong way to go about business.

At the end of the day, you’ll know which ones to keep an eye out for.

If not, here are my recommendations:

  • They are honest about the product or service they’re promoting,
  • Authentic and filter-free (in this case, I mean personality filter-free but IG filter-free is great also),
  • They apologise when they’re wrong,
  • They help others and use their platform for good.

If you like learning about the behind-the-scenes of influencers, a good read if you are interested is by SBS – Faking Influence is a fantastic read and a real thorough insight.

Stay tuned as I’ll be following up this topic with all the goss about the paparazzi and spotting the ‘staged’ photos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *