Financial TimesFinancial Times

What de-influencing tells us about the state of the creator economy

By Elaine Moore

21 Feb 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

"De-influencing" poses as a rejection of online consumerism, but in reality, "it's just as manipulative as any other social media performance," argues The FT's Elaine Moore.

If you make your living telling other people what to buy online, “de-influencing” might sound like a direct threat. The trend of glossy videos advising users not to waste their money on Dyson Airwrap hair stylers, Ugg Minis, AirPods Max earphones or Olaplex shampoo has been hailed as a challenge to over-consumption and a return to authenticity. It is nothing of the sort. De-influencing is just as manipulative as any other social media performance. It is instead a sign of economic anxiety.

The polished, pampered class of influencers, people who make money from their online audiences and the brands they partner with, are part of an estimated $16bn market. Their reach extends beyond ad campaigns. Emily Hund, author of The Influencer Industry, points out that even the White House employs someone to work with online creators.

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