Main content

The truth behind a ‘woke’ Instagram network

Accounts that support progressive causes reach out to Instagram users promising them “brand ambassador”. It sounds like a great deal all around – but what’s the truth?

It sounds like a dream proposition. A company with a big online following messages you out of the blue, asking you to represent them as a “brand ambassador”.

They promise you a boost in Instagram followers, and a discount on their products. And they even promise to donate large sums to charity.

But take away the rosy filter, and the reality does not look quite so good. New followers aren’t guaranteed. And the products for sale are so vastly overpriced that even with the discount, you’re losing out.

And perhaps most ethically dubious of all, we’ve found a network of accounts making false or dubious claims about charity contributions.

The accounts pledge large chunks of their profits to environmental projects, racial justice, LGBT rights organisations and other progressive causes that many are passionate about. The word “woke” comes to mind.

But we’ve discovered that these accounts often fail when it comes to delivering the profits – and the goods for sale.

Presenter: Reha Kansara
Reporter: Sean Allsop

Picture: Screenshot of a now-deleted account pledging charitable donations.
Picture credit: Instagram/BBC

Available now

18 minutes


  • Sat 28 Nov 2020 18:32GMT
  • Sun 29 Nov 2020 00:32GMT
  • Sun 29 Nov 2020 05:32GMT
  • Sun 29 Nov 2020 19:32GMT
  • Mon 30 Nov 2020 10:32GMT

Download this programme

Download this programme

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.