The bubble may be bursting for Instagram influencers who can earn thousands of dollars for sponsored posts on their favorite photo-sharing app. Harimao Lee, a Hong Kong based Instagrammer who usually posts about travel, attracted the internet’s scorn when she recently posted an image of herself illuminated by fairy lights on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Rome. The pictures shows the young traveler gazing out of the plane window, lit by the golden glow of a battery operated string of fairy lights.
The picture has over 16,000 likes, but that didn’t stop commenters from pointing out the absurdity of the photo. Most of them mocked the over-the-top staging of the photo, especially as Lee was sipping champagne in Business class, but a few eagle eyed commenters noticed an even greater sin, Lee was actually sitting backwards, perched on the footrest to get the perfect Insta-ready photo.
Lee’s photo may have been patently staged, with her fairy lights and champagne combo designed to feed into the aspirational fantasy of Instagram, but many of the comments were unnecessarily bullying and mean-spirited. We have no gripe with anyone seeking to take picture perfect photos, least of all anyone who does it for a living, but we have to say, Instagram influencers seem to be on shaky ground these days. More recently, another influencer named Scarlett London came under fire for her staged sponsored photo, in which a stack of store-bought tortillas were revealed to be masquerading as pancakes.