Are Influencers Spreading Covid?

As we’ve all been snuck into our rooms for almost a year now, a few influencers have been having none of it.

January 18, 2021
Roxane Aguilar

Tulum the influencer capital of the world in 2021 ?

Believe it or not, the pictures above were made in 2021. These Instagram pictures were taken in Tulum, Mexico, in the past week. No mask, no social distancing, it looks like they were made in an alternative reality. Influencers are rushing to Tutum because it is one of the few places where they feel like they can escape from a reality that is not being very kind to influencers, not unlike everyone else. 🤳

The sad reality is that Mexico is being hit hard by Covid. Like everyone else, the country is experiencing hundreds of deaths every day. And all these influencers are at some point dealing with locals, putting them at great risk, raising great concern about the responsibility of influencers in visiting countries.

Is Dubai a more ethical alternative ? 🏝

Another popular destination for influencers is the United Arab Emirates. In 2020, as borders were starting to close, influencers have been flocking to Dubai en masse, which has remained relatively open to tourists and been capitalizing heavily on influencers to promote Dubai with the popular hashtag #visitdubai. For influencers, Dubai is a good place to keep doing their work as before, showing off their lavish lifestyle while enjoying the sun at the same time. 🌞

Even though Covid isn’t hitting Dubai as hard as in other countries, there are still some ethical questions at play, since all of this “influencer” economy is at the expense of migrant workers, who Dubai heavily relies on, and who are effectively in a situation of slavery. But many influencers feel like Dubai is more like a safe space from all sanitary measures that are at place in other countries.

But the problem goes beyond potentially spreading the virus. Social media influencers have a huge responsibility over the image they give of themselves. This is why many governments have been working with influencers to spread vital information such as wearing masks or respecting social distancing. When influencers go abroad and pretend like Covid doesn’t exist, they are effectively ruining this effort. 🦠

Can influencers be defended ?

Some influencers argue that they are only doing their “work” and not just taking vacation. A better way of describing influencers nowadays is content creators. As such, they need to create content all the time, and lockdowns do not give them this opportunity. 

There’s only so much you can do before you become flat-arse broke,”“I am out here for work and pleasure. I do a lot of content for myself, but I also create content for brands as well. I do a lot of photography work for, say, a sunglasses company, and a beer company will maybe want me to post stuff on my Instagram” - henryjwade

Obviously, easy to say while the work consists in living a lavish lifestlyle. As such this excuse is very hard to defend and those who have tried it have faced backlash from their community.

Influencers are not the only ones to blame, as brands have kept working with them to keep encouraging their followers to travel. This is the case for Air Canada, which collaborated with a few influencers with hashtags such as #bringingvacationsback. Last Summer, many people felt like the Revolve campaign with many influencers was mistimed under the current situation. What’s the point when people are stuck at home?

The only acceptable argument would be that of bringing some happiness to their followers. It is true that in these difficult times, seeing beautiful sunny pictures of an alternative reality can be a way for some people to cope with the current situation. The global crisis hits especially hard young people, for whom social life is so important at this age. Social media is a way for them to escape. 📲

When French influencer Isiaar Cng published her travel in Mexico, her fanbase was genuinely happy and curious about her traveling, and even encouraged her to make the most of it. But then again, it could be argued that the influencer’s behavior can have a direct impact on the behavior of followers, who after seeing these pictures, could feel like Covid isn’t that big of a deal after all. 🤷‍♀️

Disconnected young people ?

The truth is, most of the influencers are young and oftentimes disconnected from reality. For them, Covid is a distant threat, and they are having a hard time understanding why they should stop all activity. In the US, despite the spectacular rise of cases in California this summer, an influencer house wouldn’t stop partying this summer, so the city of Los Angeles had to literally cut power to keep them from dancing . 🕺

Even worse, some influencers went as far as to claim the whole Covid thing was fake. Jay Alvarez, an influencer with more than 6 Million followers on Instagram, claimed the whole thing was staged and a large conspiracy. 👁

There have been countless cases of influencers who have been criticized for not respecting lockdowns. And for the sake of PR, there have been countless cases of “public apologies” as well from influencers who have been caught. 🤭

It is doubtful that these apologies are really sincere. Unfortunately, even though they’re young and fit, influencers can also be hit hard from Coronavirus. Some of them learned it the hard way.

The best example is probably Dmitriy Stuzhuk, a fitness influencer, from Ukraine, with 2 Million followers on Instagram, and who died after being infected with Covid. For months, he boasted about not wearing masks and making zero effort ih the fight against Covid, as he argued the whole thing was fake. He is an extreme example, but there are countless examples of influencers who have contracted Covid in the last few months.🤒

Seeing content of influencers living a “normal life” can be both frustrating and fascinating for everyone. It reminds us of what we’re missing out on, at a time when depression for young people is at an all time high. When all is said and done, this kind of behavior can only hurt all efforts made by public authorities towards young people, and as such, influencers should think twice before publishing pictures maskless and partying. 😷

About the author

Roxane Aguilar

From the Rolling Stones to the Palmashow, our Head of content knows her classics. 🤩 Always has the word for laugh, Roxane is above all a mind of steel and an overflowing imagination. 🔥 Legend has it that rarely has one seen such a dedicated editor! Far from being an early riser, she'll be writing her best articles starting at 10:13 am. Stay tuned ... 👩💻 #Creative #ESSECbba