We are used to seeing content creators rave about their favourite products online, whether that be organically or as part of a brand partnership. But a new ‘anti-trend’ landed on our feeds this year, a trend that the creator economy coined ‘de-influencing’.

Where did the trend stem from?

Seemingly stemming from the viral moment that saw content creator Mikayla Nogueira share an inauthentic advertisement for a L’Oréal mascara on TikTok – claiming her eyelashes were natural despite it being apparent that she was wearing falsies – her viewers were outraged that a creator they had previously trusted would possibly mislead them.

Other content creators caught onto this, seeing that it was the authenticity that consumers were craving, and switched things up entirely. Suddenly, our social media feeds were full of videos in which creators were candidly sharing the products they did not recommend, in order to help their viewers save money on products that they deemed ‘not worth it’. We call this ‘de-influencing’, and the #deinfluencing hashtag on TikTok has now amassed over 282.9 million views.

“The ‘lashlighting drama’ is a perfect example of consumers seeing right through the creator's inauthenticity. The fallout on social media over mascara-gate is proof that consumers want honest reviews and not filtered or inaccurate depictions of a product,” said Ali Fazal, VP of Marketing at GRIN.

He added, “Consumers want to know that influencers aren’t afraid to be truthful and own up to what products they wouldn’t recommend and that they are also willing to tell their followers where they can save money.”

But does this somewhat cynical content spin have a negative impact on brand and creator partnerships, potentially being detrimental to brands that typically have a positive opinion on influencer marketing as a tool to increase brand awareness and sell a product?

Following a contract vs. going viral

Passionate about taking the conversation on de-influencing a step further, we opened the floor in Hello Partner’s virtual partnership lounge, inviting members spanning the influencer and affiliate communities to have their say.

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