Nowadays, social media touches nearly every aspect of our personal and business lives. Accurate online personal information is desired, to prevent deception and for websites to offer meaningful ads. However, Church and Thambusamy’s publication suggests that social media users manipulate their personal information out of a desire for interpersonal competition, which can bring status and hedonic benefits. This study examined Facebook users to reach their conclusion. By looking at other social network sites such as Instagram and LinkedIn, I propose that financial benefit is another reason for personal information deception.
Influencer marketing is a relatively new marketing strategy. It orients marketing activities around individuals who have influence over potential customers. Many people are full-time social media influencers, with millions of followers. However, personal information deception comes to play when influencers edit their photos and videos, with the help of countless photo-editing apps online. They also carefully manage their posts to incentivize their followers to do certain things, such as purchasing specific products, by saying things they don’t actually mean. In return, influencers get financial reward from businesses they advertised for. Some influencers further admit they post what they want the audience to see instead of the reality. Ksteu’s post mentioned that “our social media lives are composed of planned situations to make our real lives seem better than they actually are.” In this case, it helps influencers to attract more followers, therefore more money.
Looking at LinkedIn, personal information deception include editing and exaggerating previous experiences. This makes the user stand out more among all candidates, increasing his chance of getting a job offer, which brings financial income. All in all, despite ethical considerations, personal information deception is used to gain financial benefit.