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31 Things That Influencers Have Normalized That Are Actually So, So Messed Up

A while back, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their thoughts on influencers, and there sure are a lot of things influencers do that piss them off! Here's what they had to say.

1.First, I'm going to start with one that bothers me: when influencers go up to random people in stores, ask them to record them, then do something really ridiculous just to see if they'll keep filming/how they'll react. Like, they didn't consent to being a part of your TikTok (even if it's usually just their voice).

If someone came up to me when I was trying to do a Target run just so they could trick me into being in their TikTok skit, I would be PISSED.

2.And also, influencers who walk up to people on the street to ask them questions or film them (especially without asking permission first): "ASK PEOPLE BEFORE YOU RECORD THEM! I know plenty of people who hate being recorded and don't want you filming them."


3.But especially... "The thing where influencers stop random people on the street and ask them 'Double it and give it to the next person or take it?' Because if you take it you feel like such a crappy person and others would watch you take the money, and if you double it you missed out on a lot of money that could have helped you."


4."Charity porn."


"Yes, I absolutely hate it. By all means, do charitable acts and film prepping it, but don’t make the subjects of the charity engage in your videos, even if you say they don’t have to you’re putting them in a position where they’ll feel like they have to say yes to get the charity. A woman I went to school with owned a local dive bar where we grew up that also did food. She would film videos of herself taking food to homeless people so that she could use the videos to promote the bar. It was disgusting because the homeless person wasn’t in a position to say no so they had to sacrifice their dignity for that meal and her ego. She would never have done that good deed without videoing it either which immediately means you lose all credit for it. It’s just using people less fortunate than you."


"The ONLY legitimate reason to share video of acts of charity is to increase awareness of an issue or community that is especially invisible, especially if it would be something that a surge of awareness about would make a big difference. Any other example of filming acts of charity is solely about the giver, not the recipient."


"It's one thing to make a video ABOUT your charity (this is who we are, what we do, etc.) but making the recipient of charity appear in the video is so messed up."


headline reading, tiktoker left in tears after strangers refused her offer to pay for their groceries

5."Any influencer who posts 'what I eat in a day' videos that start (almost ALWAYS) with a body check, then proceed to show an amount of food suitable for a three-year-old. like…really just promoting eating disorders to a vulnerable audience and having no shame whatsoever in doing so."


"And it's under the guise of 'wellness.' Bone broth, teas, herbs, and citrus/vitamin water. I really don't like to call these people 'idiots' as others have, (even though I understand their frustration with influencers) because I really think someone should step in and help them realize what an unhealthy addiction social media can turn into. Eventually, they will be making documentaries about the type of business they are in and we'll see the dangers we haven't even realized yet for everyone involved from creators to viewers."


6."Facetuning pictures randomly! I know a wannabe influencer that very obviously Facetuned ONE of her photos on Instagram. When you look at her other photos, her face is completely different!"


7."When they want to show how much money they have by wasting it all. Like, 'I just destroyed my girlfriend's car and bought her a Tesla!' If you are going to buy your girlfriend a new car, don't do it on camera, and SELL THE ORIGINAL CAR!"


"Destroying My Friend's Car And Surprising Him With A New One"
MrBeast / Via

8.And similarly, "People straight up destroying stuff for views. Sometimes, it’s just property destruction with TikTok challenges (like, when a few years back there was that trend where people stole paper towel dispensers and sinks), but sometimes, it is irreplaceable historical artifacts. People will do anything for their 15 minutes of not very real fame."


9."I'll go ahead and also add on to yours by saying wasting FOOD, as well. I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE this so much, dumping out milk, soda, throwing whole pizzas and burgers and chips away like that. ... It's so disgusting that people do this for clicks and views when not only did that person waste their money, someone else could have gotten a hot meal or something, but no, dumping slime on 20 pizzas for 100 views is SO MUCH BETTER, Kevin..."

"You would think in this day and age that at the very least, Gen Z and younger millennials would be more mindful about waste and the damage it can do to the environment, but no. I don't care about makeup, don't care about styling and fashion, you do you, but what I absolutely HATE with every fiber of my being are these assholes wasting food, drink, and really anything else in excess for clicks and views. 'Watch me throw 100 pizzas off a bridge! yuk, yuk, yuk.' 'Watch me bathe in 1,000 pounds. of ramen noodles!'"


Sam Golbach / Via

10.When TikTokers film at tourist attractions others have also paid to visit: "I see people on TikTok in very crowded tourist areas getting angry that people won’t give them a wide berth to film. Like, what are the other people supposed to do? Walk into the road instead of on the sidewalk? Not actually look at the displays near you in the museum that they paid to visit? So entitled, and the people posting the videos always expect viewers to take their side."


11.And really just filming in any public area, like a plane aisle or a bathroom: "I was at the movies a few weeks ago post movie I needed to use the restroom. there were two girls in there filming themselves doing a TikTok dance. They kept getting upset people were using the facilities, and said something to the effect of 'why do all these bishes keep using the bathroom, can't they see?' I waited until they started dancing and flushed. The lady in the next stall over, though, farted so loudly on purpose (she snickered) that the girls got mad and left."

"I laughed so hard. So if you see a video of two girls getting out farted on TikTok, I'm the one flushing every time they started to dance."


12.Really just any behavior influencers exhibit at Disney, including: filming people without their consent, trying to get the actors to break character, ignoring safety precautions and filming on rides, and overall just taking away from everyone's experiences.

"Most of the Disney YouTubers and 'Influencers' are horrible! They prance around theme parks all day stuffing their faces, buying merchandise, and using their stans’ superchats and donations to pay for everything. ... They’re in the parks every day shoving their cameras in everyone’s faces and shoving their way through lines like they’re better than everyone else!

One streamer...even took $300 in cash from a man who said he was a fan and was there celebrating being cancer free. How could they take his money? The man said he didn’t have much. They’re nothing but glorified panhandlers, these theme park Disney Adults looking for a way to fund their lifelong vacation lifestyles. I’ve seen people leave their children and spouses at home to go and grift in the parks. Disney rules clearly state that business isn’t to be conducted on Disney property, but these people have sponsors, hawk their poorly made (and copyright infringing) T-shirts and merchandise, and detract from the paying guests’ experiences. You have no idea how many unsuspecting innocent people have had their butts on their streams, or blew their nose, or were eating, or had their legs uncrossed inadvertently, and it was all caught on these stupid streamers’ videos for all the world to see! Some have even brought their livestreams into the restroom with them, and although they pointed the camera at the ceiling or wall (multiple offenders there), you could clearly hear everything going on in that restroom! It’s against the law and is an invasion of guests’ privacy.

And I can’t tell you how many TikTokers and Instagrammers do things that are clearly against Disney and other theme parks’ rules all to get their viral shot. They hold up character meet and greet lines, making children wait while they have a whole conversation and interview with the characters. They do things that are not family-friendly or that you’d want your child seeing, especially in what’s supposed to be a family-friendly theme park. And it’s just plain creepy to see so many middle-aged and older men roaming the parks with cameras rolling. Disney needs to shut these people down instead of adding them to their media lists."


"I'm a Disney Adult and not ashamed to admit that, but the length that these 'influencers' go to in order to get likes is wild. They purposely put face characters into awkward situations to get them to step out of character. Reality is, if those actors did that, they could be fired. If I ever ran into one of these people in the park, I would probably say some not-so-Disney things to them."


"They've taken over the parks and it's ridiculous sometimes. When I worked there (college program), I had more than once someone stick a camera in my face while I was working and started asking questions for whatever social media they created content for. I'm trying to do my job! I am not here for your views! People also try to record entire rides, which is not allowed for many rides because of the danger loose items like phones and cameras create, and get incredibly angry when you tell them they can't. They also don't listen to safety information at all if they're filming — they're focused on something else entirely. So, these people are not just annoying and entitled, they're dangerous. Hundreds of people they film everyday also most likely never consented to being filmed."


13.Taking selfies — especially sexy ones — at sacred places, sites of massacres, or otherwise inappropriate locations.

"One influencer took Instagram pics at Auschwitz. The absolute disrespect and trying to act 'sexy' in probably the most inhumane place in history is infuriating! Influencers in general that show up to sad places or houses of worship can all go fuck themselves."


a stop sign with a skull before entering a concentration camp
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

14.Especially places where there are specific signs asking for no photo or video to be taken.

"I just got back from a vacation to Paris, and we went to a lot of churches where there were signs specifically stating 'no photos,' and people took photos. At one, they were GIVING MASS and people were videoing them. Along with that, people were just walking around the city recording their days. And at one place where a famous musician lived and committed suicide, this girl was doing a full-on photo shoot with professional cameras and an outfit change. It irritates me how many people think everything is/has to be about them."


15.When they're a "family" influencer and let their kids wreak havoc: "So a mom influencer with kids (not gonna say names) went to the mall I was at, at the time, and let her kids run wild taking videos of people without their consent and I saw everything. The kids were dancing on the tables and one poor guy (not actually poor, very rich) asked her to calm her kids down and to get off the table he was eating on. She responded with, 'I do not see your food on this table!!! I will let my kids do whatever they want because I am a cool mom!' And walked away. Long story short she had to cancel the channel because of other incidents like that."


i'm not a regular mom, i'm a cool mom
Paramount Pictures

16.And also just family influencers in general who use their children to get views, despite their children being too young to understand internet fame or consent to it.

"There are a lot of influencers who make 'family content' and use their children to play pranks on. To all the people who watch those videos, you are witnessing child abuse. It's devastating to know that people encourage it just by viewing it. It's the biggest case of standing by and letting it happen that the world has ever seen. Someone with some power needs to step up and stop this shit. It's literally traumatized an entire generation since birth. Let's at least stop 'sharing it in disbelief.' No one should go viral for being a creep. Report it to the right person, not the whole world."


17."I have a friend who is trying to become a mommy vlogger/influencer, and big [sic] does it suck. She's constantly begging us for likes in our group chat, advertising things she OBVIOUSLY doesn't use, like adult diapers, and making her kid do things on camera, and her kid quite obviously hates it. It's disgusting."


message from a mom asking to like and comment on her videos so she can be famous
@blakersdozen / Via Twitter: @blakersdozen

18.Using tragedy to gain attention.

"Went on a trip to do a big engagement announcement. While they were in the city, there was a horrific terrorist attack. They were safe in their hotel miles away but decided since that would take attention away from what they planned, it would make more sense to fake having been where it happened. Admitted it to our family and doesn't understand why a lot of us are disgusted with them."


19.Asking for free stuff for "exposure."

"There's an 'influencer' in my town who ... reaches out to local businesses and tries to get free services or merchandise and will low-key threaten them if they aren't willing to make a trade for exposure on her social media, telling them that she's well connected and that if she doesn't get her way, it will be very bad for their business. She basically thinks she can get away with anything because her parents have money, and she feels important because of her internet fame."


Screenshot of a text conversation asking for a free dj
u/definitelymaybe22 / Via

20.Or reservations at restaurants.

"I was at a cafe and this girl came in and she screamed, 'I need food.' The staff told her, 'You need a reservation'...She said, 'Get out of my way, I have 100,000 followers."


21.And just generally expecting the rules to be bent for them and threatening to tell their followers if they aren't.

"We had a self-proclaimed influencer come into the restaurant a few weeks back with her group of friends. They didn't have a reservation, and for a party of eight, it wasn't going to be easy to accommodate them. The reason for this was the restaurant layout being geared to small table settings and booths that are set up for parties of four. She wanted a booth and for us to add a table to the end. She wasn't the first person to ask this of the restaurant. Many people ask this, and we have to tell them no because that area (where the booths are located) is the direct walking path to the kitchen for all staff, and I was under strict instructions to never block it. Said influencer was pissed to say the least and didn't like me trying to 'change her vision' of her experience. I said I could put tables together in the main dining area, but that was shot down with 'do you have any idea how stupid you sound? You are blowing a huge opportunity here. I can make or break this business...tonight.' I had no idea how to respond to that. So, I got my GM involved. I had never seen him escort anyone out of the restaurant before, but damn, did he do it quick with them. The next day, the influencer left a four-paragraph review on our Yelp and threatened to call the health department. Gotta love entitled people."


22.And even worse, actually getting their followers to follow through on these threats and harass businesses — or even just review bomb it.

"This woman was a frequent drunk at my neighborhood bar scene. She used to do dating TikToks which were fine and cute. Once in a while, she would have some drama, but nothing too over the top. When she realized her drama videos got more views, she made up an entire saga about the bars after she found out they communicated with each other to stop serving her when she’d get belligerent. Her following ate it up. One bartender had to move three times and change her name after she was physically assaulted. Another had a mini stroke dealing with hundreds of fake complaints and phone calls a day. All so one TikToker could get attention. Unreal!"


Screenshot of a Yelp review
u/UncreativeTeam / Via

23.Photographing/video-taping strangers to shame them online (without telling the full story, of course).

"I was in high school in the cafeteria eating my food at a secluded table when a popular girl, who had a large following on TikTok, asked me to move so she could film her a TikTok video. I said no 'cause there was no where else to sit, and she proceeded to talk crap about me in front of me saying I was ruining the shot and how she'd make me go viral for being rude...when I was the one minding my business..."


"I'm going to destroy you"

24.Especially at the gym.

"Like, why do you have to mock people who are just living their lives and put them on blast on social media?"


25.Selling services they're reallyyyy not qualified to offer...

"When March 2020 happened, India went in a blanket lockdown. This one Indian influencer (fashion, I guess) put a post about how we're in this together and some other mental health buzzwords bullshit and said that for a nominal charge of 1,500 or some rupees ($20) she will give people mental health counseling (like answer a question or two in her DMs).

Please note that she is in no capacity a therapist or licensed counselor. Just wanted to cash in.

The only reason I'm aware [is because] it made national news, and she was mocked relentlessly and eventually backtracked and gave some shitty excuse which I honestly didn't bother to follow up on."


26....or products that don't work at all and are even potentially dangerous.

"When they sell bullshit 'supplements' that are actually so bad for you and not FDA-approved or anything. Especially if their fan base is teenagers/young women and it’s, like, diet pills."


character saying, i am drowning in this serum that i can't sell to save my life. granted it just vaseline and club soda but i put it in a really cute bottle

27.Relatedly... "I really can’t stand mental health influencers who dole out guidance as if they are licensed psychologists or psychiatrists. I’ve been treated for a mental illness for 15+ years, but I don’t pretend to be an expert in psychiatry. If you’re not a licensed professional, you shouldn’t solicit therapeutic or medical advice. It’s irresponsible and ripe for misinformation."


28."When they clearly don't know much about something they specialize in. My eye twitches every time I remember this video where this guy 'explained' Japanese culture. His explanation was heavily American-centric and clearly based on anime tropes. It was painful. And yet, he had a massive following."


29."Anyone who pretends to be a food critic in a restaurant. You are just causing workers stress and they might even give you free food, which you are stealing from them."


30.Asking for money from "fans" when they're the one without a job.

"She started a GoFundMe to get people to pay her rent because she wasn't making enough cash via influencing to do so but also didn't want to get a real job because it would take away from her ability to be an influencer."


"Help me, I'm poor."
Universal Pictures

31.And finally, influencers that spend every outing just taking photos of themselves: "Recently, I was at a really nice spa just across the Hudson from NYC, with loads of saunas, pools, etc. I was in the 'infinity pool' on the roof which had spectacular views of Manhattan, and quickly noticed a young lady who had brought her phone into the pool with her and was either taking nonstop selfies, or was having her boyfriend take photos of her. I was in the pool for 45 minutes and swear she did not stop the entire time."


"I had a similar experience on a holiday recently in Goa. I was staying at a beachside property where the restaurant area is a popular sundowner tourist destination. I was laying on a swing with a book and was people watching, and there was a group of girls who were in my eyeline, and I swear that for two hours all they did was click photos and make videos. At no point did they not have a camera recording every moment.

In fact, that was a thing most of the people there were doing. 'Capturing moments' and 'taking candid pictures' without actually being in the moment, or being candid with each other. They would pose for happy selfies and group photos, but the second they would stop clicking photos, they would go on their phones and ignore each other."


"My boyfriend and I were eating lunch during a day at a theme park when we spotted an influencer in the wild. She spent about 20–25 minutes having her boyfriend take various still photos and videos of her, then at least another 45 minutes moving to different spots and shooting video on her own after he wandered off. Entrance into this park is $100 and she chose to spend at least an hour just filming herself. I couldn't roll my eyes hard enough."


What behavior do you hate coming from influencers? Let us know in the comments below!

Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.