Fallen Morality of Influencers
Fallen Morality of Influencers
  • reporter Choi Eun-je
  • 승인 2020.07.06 20:28
  • 댓글 0
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▲Influencers are increasing their influence on various social media platforms / Pixelkult from Pixabay
▲Influencers are increasing their influence on various social media platforms / Pixelkult from Pixabay

As social media has developed to become parts of daily lives, the power of “influencers”, people who have a reputation through social media for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic, is increasing. However, some influencers’ greed for fame and wealth lead to deceiving and immoral behaviors. Here are some cases showing it.
From the end of 2019, YouTuber “I’mTourette”, appealing that he is suffering Tourette syndrome, attracted people’s attention. He posted videos about hardships due to the syndrome while doing everyday tasks, such as going to a hair salon or eating instant noodles. Many viewers were moved by his will to confront the syndrome, and the channel soon gained 370,000 subscribers. However, a viewer, who claimed itself to be a middle school classmate of “I’mTourette”, commented that the YouTuber did not have any tics 10 years ago and was faking the symptoms to make money. After the comment, more of the Youtuber's acquaintances also insisted that he did not suffer from the syndrome, and it was revealed that “I’mTourette” was faking symptoms. Many viewers were enraged by the YouTuber’s indecency, and real Tourette syndrome patients, who had been moved by the YouTuber, were heavily disappointed.
Here is another case of deceiving the audience and even abusing animal for YouTube views, recently. YouTube channel named “Gabsu Pasture”, managed by two veterinary students of  Chungnam National University, posted videos of their cats. Park Gab-su, one of the channel managers, often mentioned his attitude toward having pets as veterinary student and claimed to take care of abandoned pets and stray cats. Many animal lovers were attracted by such attitude and his YouTube channel quickly gained popularity. However, all of this turned out to be fake. YouTube channel named “Disclose Gabsu Pasture”, managed by alleged  fellow  students of Park, posted a tape-recording of a conversation with Park. The recording revealed that Park abused his cats by not feeding them and had deceived subscribers that he adopted stray cats. In fact, he had bought his cats from pet shops. Furthermore, it revealed his greed toward wealth, not a affection for animals, and that he belittled his viewers as fanatics. The crowd strongly blamed his immorality and abusive behavior towards animals, and, consequently, “Gabsu Pasture” deleted all the videos it had uploaded.
Meanwhile, there have also been some mischievous pranks using COVID-19 to post videos on YouTube. On Jan. 29, at Dongdaegu station, men with white protective clothing chased a man running away. Watching this situation, people became anxious and confused thinking that a COVID-19 patient was running away. Some were concerened that they might get infected, and one of them even canceled its train ticket. But it later turned out to be a prank by four YouTubers. They claimed that they planned the prank with the purpose to alert people to the dangers of COVID-19. Many people blamed the YouTubers for their reckless behavior using such severe problem as content to gain views on YouTube. Consequently, they were booked without detention by the police on Feb. 17.
As more views and subscribers lead to popularity and profit, influencers tend to show stimulating content to attract more audiences. Some of them tried to attract more audiences by deceiving them and committing immoral actions. However, their influence on society is enormous. Especially, teenagers are easily affected by their stimulating content. Thus, the growing social media industry demands influencers to be responsible for their impact on society.

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