Influencers are some of the most powerful people on social media, with the ability to persuade their followers to purchase nearly anything. In an article by Forbes, influencer marketing was expected to reach $15 billion in 2022. But should we trust influencers when it comes to world issues? 

First and foremost, what is an influencer? In simple terms, an influencer is a person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media. They exist across platforms and niches, from makeup to music to food. 

For example, a makeup influencer might review products to sway public opinion on their worth. While it seems helpful to have someone tell you if a product is worth the price, it’s important to remember most of these reviews are paid for by the company. Even if the product is not as good as it is, it is the influencers job to sell the product.

So, can influencers be trusted to educate their followers on world issues? The answer is generally no. First and foremost, it is not their job to educate others on things they are not educated about. Their job is content creation, not to educate on complex matters.

We put these influencers on a pedestal and expect so much of them, but in reality they are normal people who just create content on social media. If they choose to remain silent on controversial topics, it could be because they feel uncomfortable to speak on the topic because they’re not educated enough.

We shouldn’t force influencers to make a statement just because they have influence, especially if they aren’t educated on the topic. They might speak out without adequate knowledge, leading to misinformation.

For example, James Charles recently posted a now-deleted TikTok incorrectly blaming President Joe Biden for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. If he did any research, he would know the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was on the Supreme Court, not the president. This misinformation reached over a million viewers before the video was deleted, demonstrating the risks of influencers speaking on topics they don’t fully understand.

I don’t think that influencers should be held accountable to teach others on world issues if that is not their niche. We shouldn’t rely on someone who tests lipstick durability to provide commentary on world issues. They are not qualified. 

It should be our own individual responsibility to educate ourselves and find reputable and reliable sources when it comes to world issues. We should be listening to the journalists and the people who are out there on the frontline experiencing those things upfront. They are the ones who are credible.

However, for people who rely on social media as their only form of news, I do see the importance and the obligation for influencers to be educated as well as inform others on world issues despite my opinions. 

Because of the huge following that some influencers obtain, they could inform thousands of people, maybe millions, with just one post or video. But they should be educated on the topic themselves before speaking, and they should be doing it because they genuinely want to, not because they don’t want to be canceled for not speaking out.

Sometimes, it seems like influencers are just out of touch with reality. But when they do share things about world issues that are factually correct, it reminds us that we are all in this together. It shows they have feelings and a sense of humanity.

Bottom line, we shouldn’t rely on every influencer to speak out on world issues. Not everyone is well-versed in these matters, and it’s unrealistic and unfair to expect them to always comment.

Pamela Martinez (she/her/hers)

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