Influencer With 8 Million Followers Who Disappeared Two Years Ago Returns As Completely New Person
A TikTok influencer ditched online stardom in the wake of a scandal. Years later, a familiar face appeared with a new name. Are they doppelgängers or one and the same?
Introducing Paul Zimmer: for the social media savvy, you may remember him for his widespread lip-syncing antics back in 2017.
After emerging on the scene in 2015, over the course of a few years Zimmer, 23, amassed millions of followers with frequent videos of dancing, lip-syncing videos, acting out scenes with his fiancé, Jamie Rose, 21, and flashing his abs. Alas, his mundane rise came to a swift end.
Some of Zimmer’s old lip-syncing videos can still be found online:
When Zimmer first started, he uploaded videos to Musical.ly – an app later bought by TikTok in 2018. As per the New Statesman’s Sarah Manavis, he built a huge online following, raking in half a million views for every clip, as well as more than 500,000 followers on Instagram. On the app itself, he boasted a seven million-strong following.
As far as scandals go, this isn’t particularly sinister or abhorrent. The online star’s downfall came later, from active use of Live.ly, a platform for live videos.
Fans soon turned to foes as #banpaulzimmer began trending on TikTok. Why? He was allegedly scamming his audience, manipulating them for money.
Users would pay for ‘stickers’, the cash value of which would be sent to Zimmer and in return he’d offer personalised ‘gifts’, such as shout-outs, individual DMs and video shares. However, people got wise after a number of broken promises – he wasn’t honouring the stickers.
As the controversy ramped up, Zimmer and Rose vanished from social media – with the former’s Instagram and YouTube completely wiped. However, late last year, he posted something very strange: a selfie next to a boy called Troy Becker, an apparent lookalike. At this point, Becker’s Instagram was a ghost town.
Zimmer wrote: ‘This actor @TroyBeckerIG kid literally looks like a younger sexier version of me. I don’t even use social media anymore but had to post this hahah…’ Months later, another post appeared from Zimmer’s Instagram, similarly featuring Becker and captioned: ‘IM TELLING YOU HE IS MY YOUNGER BRO.’
It’s the third post that really caught people’s eye, which read:
Hey it’s Paul Zimmer, this is prolly gonna be my last social post ever… I have come to a place in my life where being in the spotlight and being an entertainer is no longer my passion… although it deeply saddens me to leave so bluntly, especially that so many of you have watched me for so many years.
I didn’t wanna leave my social media pages just sitting to die… soo I have decided to give my social media accounts to @troybeckerig because he is one of the dopest people I know and he is literally my younger twin my much younger twin I believe Troy is 15 or 16 years old hahaha…
Folks aren’t convinced, though. People believe Becker is a fictional vehicle for Zimmer to stay in the limelight. Haylo Hayley, a YouTuber focused on debunking Zimmer’s fraudulence, said in a video: ‘If you listen to [Troy’s voice] it sounds exactly the same as Paul Zimmer. I know for 100% it’s Paul Zimmer [because] I met him in person when I went to New York in 2017.’
TikTok users have made their opinions very clear about the topic, with many saying that ‘nobody is falling for it’ and ‘you’re literally wearing the same earrings that you always post photos in’.
Since people have started cottoning on to Zimmer/Becker’s ways, all social media accounts connected to Paul and Troy have seemingly disappeared.
Is this the real life, or is it just fantasy?
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CreditsNew Statesman and 1 other