Instagram can be a wonderful place at times with people sharing stunning photographs, hilarious memes and creative videos.
However, sometimes it can be hard to tell what is real as the social media platform is severely tainted by fakery.
That includes photoshopped images which do the opposite of promoting body-positivity, fake followers, clickbait and people pretending to be someone they’re not.
Many people want to appear as glamorous as possible on Instagram, so people are either jealous of or aspire to the lifestyles they supposedly lead.
The key word here is ‘supposedly’ because it’s shocking the lengths some desperate people go to make it seem like they have exciting, jet-setting and rich lifestyles.
19-year-old Londoner Byron Denton, a YouTuber who runs the channel ‘tbhbyron‘ on the platform, decided to take a deep dive into this, editing photos of himself and posting them on Instagram in January.
Byron wanted to see how easy it was to pretend to be rich on the platform, also looking at how his followers reacted to the fake photos he posted.
The teenager edited images to make it appear he was on a private plane, shopping at Louis Vuitton and wearing designer clothing from brands such as Balenciaga and Off-White.
After a week of posting these pictures, Byron revealed the truth in a video entitled ‘I faked being a rich bitch on Instagram for a week and this is what happened…’ on his YouTube channel.
In the video the vlogger explained how he used the FaceTune and PicsArt apps to edit the photos, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to apply the finishing touches.
Taking him 45 minutes to create each image, including shooting and editing, Byron was shocked at how quickly these fake photos could be put together.
More surprising though is the fact only five people messaged Byron or commented on his posts, asking if they were real.
The majority of his friends and family were convinced though, as were his followers with Byron’s posts receiving more engagement than before.
He explained in his video:
I did this to try and compare whether wearing designer items would actually encourage people to like your photos or not, so if we go back to a photo I posted on December 1, wearing a semi-cute outfit, kinda basic but still kinda cute, this actually ended up getting 2,234 likes, 44 comments and 113 profile visits.
But in comparison to me wearing a designer top or designers shoes, the likes I got on those photos even though it’s still an outfit of a day though, is pulling 12,000 likes, so that’s like 10,000 more people clicking the like button of me wearing designer [clothes], just because I’m wearing designer [clothes].
Byron is clearly baffled by this, as am I to be honest.
Don’t believe everything you see on social media.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.