Just when you thought that 'fakes' only existed in the posts on @diet_prada's vigilant Instagram feed, Australian beauty blogger Chloe Morello has detailed an exposé of her own,  honing in on fellow influencers in the Australian beauty industry. In a 17 minute video posted to her YouTube account, Morello explains her belief that some Australian 'influencers' are buying their followers and engagement on Instagram, fooling brands into paying for sponsored content, even though their following may not be authentic.  

We already know social media is a billion dollar industry.  A study conducted by Forbes earlier this year analysed the earnings of top influencers on Instagram and found that a user with 100,000 followers can ask for as much as $5,000 per post. This continues to increase as more zeros are clocked onto a following; for an account with over one million followers, brands could be looking at forking out as much as $50,000 for a single sponsored post.


Morello is a seasoned influencer, having posted beauty tips and tricks to her YouTube channel since 2009. The beauty blogger currently has a legitimate Instagram following of 992K, among a cool 2.3 million dedicated YouTube followers, most of whom have been watching videos on her channel since its inception. In a video posted yesterday (Thursday) Morello says of some beauty influencers in Australia: "I have done a lot of research and I believe their following is fake."

"As someone in my position, I think it is my duty to Edward Snowden this sh*t," she explains before diving into analytics of engagement, suggesting that the typical rate of engagement on Instagram posts usually sits between 1.5 - 4% of any user's following. She then clarifies that there are of course some outliers in this generalisation referencing fellow beauty bloggers Shani Grimmond and Sammy Robbinson saying, "they have 100% legit following, they are just super gorgeous really engaging influencers and they make amazing content."


Morello alleges that if a certain influencer has a lot of followers but does not generate engagement via likes and comments, it is likely that their following is paid for, referencing a website called Social Blade where you can input any users social handle and track the growth in their following. On the other side, influencers are also buying engagement and will therefore have unusually high numbers of likes and comments. These fraudulent influencer's are using WhatsApp groups and paying foreign users to like and comment on photos, the comments of which usually appear in broken English (despite these influencer being fluent in English).

Ever the diplomat, not one influencer in particular is named and shamed. "It is really frustrating to see people get offered the same opportunities as me, going to the same events; even events that I don't get invited to, overseas holidays, hundreds of free products and even being paid by brands," Morello explains, hoping to inform the beauty industry of these sleuth users. 

Who would have thought the beauty blogging industry could be so ugly? Watch the full exposé below. 

The ugly side of beauty bloggers: Chloe Morello exposes influencer “frauds”