The troubling implications of a 'human stock market'

The latest trend in online influencer culture is alarming

The stock market.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

Sponsored content has long been a moneymaker for online influencers. It's pretty simple: Do a little dance video, pose your cute kid in his wardrobe of neutral linens and cashmere, write up a quick caption about how this product, like, totally changed my life, you guys! Get likes; get paid.

But how often can one work oneself up to gush about detergent or protein shakes or a fast-fashion item locked, since the moment of its likely unethical manufacture, in a race of material disintegration against rejection from the whims of style? For the influencer tiring of ads, alternatives have arrived, as New York Times tech reporter Taylor Lorenz documented in a new report Wednesday. Instead of hawking physical products that fans can buy from sponsors or, sometimes, the influencers themselves, a new set of apps sell bits of the influencers' lives. I do not think this is a path we want to tread.

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