Are social media influencers trustworthy?  

Written by on 19th April 2024

 There can be a great divide in opinion to whether influencers can be trustworthy or not. Or is this “untrustworthy” stereotype on content creators influenced by the people watch and commenting?

Social media in 2024 is known to be an accepting and diverse platform. Many influencers and bloggers have the opportunity to connect with other influencers, meet people they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to visit places they would have never dreamed to have gone.

Bethany Dawn, blogger from the North East, running her own food blogging account based in the North East and Newcastle, ‘nooksofnewcastle’. She posts a wide variety of content like food reviews on local restaurants and cafes, she regularly advocates for empowering women, and just a bit about her life too.

She hasn’t gone through to much negativity in her two years of running her Instagram account, however she did mention one of her closest friends have experienced this. She mentioned “I think I am quite lucky I’ve got a thick skin and that I haven’t had too much personal hate in terms of like the way I look or whatever. I’ve had a couple of friends who run either businesses on Instagram where its instead of the focus being on their product or the service they are selling they’ll have messages from people about how they look in their stories.”

She said her friend who runs the business posted a story of herself on Instagram, and she received a comment saying, “I can’t believe you have posted this video on your story when your skin looks so bad.”



Northern food blogger Bethany mentioned that it is hard to navigate as some content creators always post content with hashtags and all they solely post is ADs. She said it is quite hard because off of this your followers may find you a bit disingenuous because they want to know if you are just posting about that product because you are getting it for free.

A case study written my Balaban, D., Mucundorfeanu, M., and Naderer, B wrote in 2022, talks about the role of trustworthiness in social media in influencer advertising. It mentions that “trustworthiness is essential because it directly influences and effects the consumers decision about the promoted products and the social media influencers commercial offerings in general.”

In previous studies taken place, they mentioned that “when bloggers disclose sponsorships it can influence behavioural intentions such as purchase intention, continued interest in the blogger and the credibility of the blogger, measured as trust”.

This is where the views of people like Nick Dunn come from, as in the case study mentioned, if bloggers or influencers have a lack of transparency with the content they create for sponsorships or advertisements, and this happens constantly them the stereotype and perception of influencers being untrustworthy will grow.

Nick Dunn, author of book ‘Surviving Hell’, has a lot to say about influencers and how they can not be trusted. He thinks that “influencers are getting out of hand, especially in this generation”.

He thinks that the younger generation of influencers are “all about making quick money” and “so many con people out of money, however there are some influencers that are entertaining in what they do.”

He thinks influencers are not setting a good example for job prospects for the young generation and the next, as all the new generation cares about is wanting to be an influencer.

Nick Dunn has a complete opposing view to Bethany Dawn and Laura Middleton, another popular food blogger from Newcastle.

Laura Middleton, also known as ‘Geordie Scran’, who has a combined following on Instagram and TikTok of just over twenty-four thousand, also has similar views to Bethany.

She said that there is a nice community in the North East it’s not as superficial as other places might be like Paris or London for example”.

Tying in what Nick Dunn has mentioned, Laura mentioned she doesn’t like people’s perceptions that bloggers “get nice free things all the time, but there is actually a lot of hard work that goes on behind all of that it is not just going to the place and taking photos, it’s quite time consuming to keep it going and to keep up to date with everything.”

Laura, owner of ‘Geordie Scran’, says: “I have saw people that have had backlash a lot worse than me, and it is a bit scary and it’s not a nice thing to see.”

She does it for the sole purpose to help out local businesses and she doesn’t make any money of her page.

She said: “If I do make any money if its off a bigger brand collaboration, I always donate it back to the Peoples Kitchen at the end of the year”.

Looking at my proposed question, I do understand Nick Dunn’s views, as all over TikTok mostly and Instagram, there is a growing view that influencers are untrustworthy because of recent scandals that have occurred through advertisements and sponsorship deals with certain content creators.

The Mikayla Nogueira scandal that happened in 2023. She was promoting mascara from the popular beauty brand L’Oreal ‘Telescopic Lift’ mascara. Following the video, lot of comments and views were floating around the internet that she applied false eyelashes behind the scenes of the video and saying the “false eyelashes” was the result of the L’Oreal mascara. This caused arguments on the internet causing Mikayla to lose a lot of followers on TikTok and for her to be seen as an untrustworthy content creator as she supposedly lied about the mascara.

However, this whole stereotype and perception is not all influencers, just like Laura Middleton, owner of ‘Geordie Scran’ and Bethany Dawn, food blogger and owner of ‘nooksofnewcastle’. These women don’t make money off their profile, and their sole purpose when starting their blogging account wasn’t for money, it was to help promote local businesses of the North East, which totally goes against the untrustworthy perception.

I do understand that there is some bloggers and content creators that are labelled as dishonest as their people who have accounts to help earn them more money, however, I think that not all influencers are untrustworthy. In the grand scheme of things, there is always going to be some people that lead with the stereotype and defy it.



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