Influencers’ Fake Trips on Social Media Prove You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You See Online

A talented photographer, an easy-to-manipulate background and a talent for Photoshop are just the few things one needs to trick their hundreds of thousands of followers that they’re on some lavish trip. 

Taken from Gabbie Hanna’s fake Coachella trip video. Photo Credit: Gabbie Hanna

Last year, Instagram influencer Johanna Emma Olsson was slammed online for her poorly photoshopped Parisian getaway pictures. While she was actually on the trip, she photoshopped herself in different, more aesthetic locations to get that great pic for the ‘gram. Now, YouTube personalities are taking to their social platforms to prove how easy it is for them to live a fake life.

The content created by influencers is already heavily curated to show the best, and sometimes unbelievable, moments of their lives but some are taking it to the next level. By utilising Photoshop, they’re showcasing that not everything is as it seems, and you should take everything you see online with a grain of salt.

Just a quick search on YouTube shows that “I faked…” is becoming an increasingly popular trend. VICE’s “How I Faked My Way to The Top of Paris Fashion Week” and Yes Theory’s fake Justin Bieber/ burrito photo are some of the early viral posts that show just how easy it is to fool a mass audience.

Now, some influencers are faking their way through trips that last days. Blogger Carolyn Stritch faked a trip to Disneyland, just to prove how easy it was. She edited a picture of her face to make her appear ten years younger and announced to her followers that she was off to California to celebrate her 22nd birthday.

“I wanted my fictional narrative to challenge the way I portray myself online and the effects of this portrayal,” Stritch wrote. “Sometimes that coffee cup I’m holding is empty. I suck in my stomach. I rearrange the furniture. I Photoshop out dirty marks made by bashing furniture off the walls. Is it bad to do those things? I don’t know.”

Last month, Niki and Gabi faked an Italian holiday and were caught out by their fans. Recently, Gabbie Hanna, and countless other creators, faked going to Coachella. Surprisingly, for us and her, Hanna convinced her audience of 3.8M that she was at the festival. In reality, she was still at home and participating in a charity event.

Byron Denton is no stranger to this “fake” prank – his first consisted of him fake living a rich lifestyle. After that success, the London-based YouTuber went above and beyond and joined in on the “I faked going to Coachella” trend. Some might say Hanna’s was bound to be more successful – after all, at least she was in driving distance of the festival! So, with his outfits in check and a couple of locations that would be fairly easy to manipulate, Denton went about making his video and posting on social media. The posts were coupled with Instastories from people who were actually at the festival. I think it’s safe to say that Denton spoofed the majority of his audience.

With this trend in full swing, audiences are now looking at everything posted online with a sceptical eye. While Hanna and Denton were successful with their experiment, they did note that they had to keep an eye on the comments of their posts – to keep up the illusion. Many comments were envious/ happy for them to be at the festival but there were some that caught onto the prank straightaway.

Unlike Olsson, the influencers posting these fake trips aren’t being torn apart about it. The transparency that comes with the accompanying video has intrigued audiences and clued in a lot of people about how easy it is to believe everything you see online.

Thanks to apps like Facetune, influencers have been modifying their images for years. James Charles is constantly receiving scrutiny about his enhanced Instagram looks. Plenty of other people edit objects in and out of photos to make them seem more appealing. Instagram influencer Amelia Liana came clean about her photo modifications after fans called her out for “promoting a lifestyle [that] is fiction”. She acknowledged her actions by stating that with the changing landscape of social media she wants to create “imagery that is stylish, progressive and inspiring,” and went as far as to create image principles.

When does photo editing stop being its own art form (those James Charles pictures are killer!) and start becoming a blatant lie that’s promoting a false lifestyle?

Gotta fake it ’til you make it, I guess.

What do you think about these fake trip’s influencers are posting about? Let us know in the comments.