Motivation for using fake Instagram (Finsta) is not to reveal inappropriate self

April 16, 2018

Washington, DC (April 16, 2018) As Instagram is viewed as a place for building the ideal self, some users have created fake Instagram (Finsta) accounts to buck this trend. But are these "fake" accounts really there to express the real, sometimes ugly self, or is there a deeper motivation? A recent study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University, found that users align their real Instagram accounts (Rinsta) with their actual self and to escape from reality, whereas Finsta to foster social bonding.

Jin Kang (Pennsylvania State University), and Lewen Wei (Pennsylvania State University) will present their findings at the 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Prague, Czech Republic. The researchers conducted an online survey with a total of 106 undergraduate students who had both fake Instagram (Finsta) and real Instagram (Rinsta) accounts. In the survey, the students were asked how Finsta was different from Rinsta in two different ways. One, was administered in an existing valid measure that taps onto four different user motivations, archiving, self-presentation, escapism and social interaction. In the Second, students elaborated their answers in an open-ended format.

The data analyzed revealed Rinsta was rated higher for escapism and archiving. One might expect for the Finsta to be rated higher on these two motivations; higher on escapism as there are more pictures being updated from other users to distract their attention and higher on archiving as users can post pictures anytime. One potential explanation is that Finsta is just "too real." As users post pictures that closely reflect the reality, Finsta may constantly remind users of their actual reality, rather than allowing them to immerse themselves in an illusion that "life is perfect," as portrayed by other users.

Research on self-presentation on social media is ever expanding. Finsta is another venue for individuals to express different aspects of the self to the public. This study shows that there are two things that make Finsta unique: 1. It is an agreed-upon place for everyone to be inappropriate and silly and 2. Most users are doing the opposite of the normally seen positive self-presentation on other platforms. If individuals display their best self (e.g., ideal-self) on places like Facebook, individuals are displaying their worse self on Finsta.

"We showed exactly how Rinsta and Finsta are different in terms of user motivation. Contrary to popular belief, individuals used Rinsta to express one's actual-self and used Rinsta to escape from reality. On Finsta, users posted inappropriate and silly pictures not just for self-expression, but also posted these pictures as a way to bond with their friends, that is, to make their friends laugh and to archive the crazy moments they shared together, said Kang. "Also, at least in our study, we found that creating Finsta mainly happened among female students which also raises an interesting future question of if female users have stronger need to express an inappropriate side of themselves than male users."

"Let Me Be at My Ugliest: Instagram Users' Motivations for Using Finsta (Fake Instagram)," by Jin Kang and Lewen Wei; to be presented at the 68th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 24-28 May 2018.
-end-
Contact: To schedule an interview with the author or request a copy of the research, please contact John Paul Gutierrez, jpgutierrez@icahdq.org.

About ICA

The International Communication Association is an academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication. With more than 4,300 members in 80 countries, ICA includes 32 Divisions and Interest Groups and publishes six major, peer-reviewed journals: Annals of the International Communication Association, Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, Human Communication Research, Communication, Culture & Critique, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. For more information, visit http://www.icahdq.org.

International Communication Association

Related Instagram Articles from Brightsurf:

Facing up to the reality of politicians' Instagram posts
A University of Georgia researcher used computer vision to analyze thousands of images from over 100 Instagram accounts of United States politicians and discovered posts that showed politicians' faces in nonpolitical settings increased audience engagement over traditional posts such as politicians in professional or political settings.

Self-harm content on Instagram: "self-harm or self-help?"
Instagram users who post self-harm content online are choosing ambiguous hashtags in an attempt to circumvent the social media platform's ban on harmful content, a researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington, has found.

Examining Congress members' popularity on Instagram
New research on the popularity of Congress members' Instagram posts reveals some surprising factors at play that could elevate their influence on the platform and make for more effective campaigns.

How vaping companies are use Instagram to market to young people
Using artificial intelligence, researchers analysed hundreds of thousands of posts from a 6-month period last year, and found that a large portion of Instagram posts are promoting controversial flavoured e-liquids to young audiences

Does posting edited self photos on social media increase risk of eating disorders?
New research published in International Journal Eating Disorders revealed a consistent and direct link between posting edited photos on Instagram and risk factors for eating disorders.

Instagram and the male body image
In a new study among males depicted on Instagram, the majority of posts showed men with low body fat, while only a small fraction depicted men with high body fat.

Researchers use machine learning to unearth underground Instagram 'pods'
Not all engagement with posts on social networks is organic, according to a team of researchers at New York University Tandon School of Engineering and Drexel University, who have published the first analysis of a robust underground ecosystem of ''pods.'' These groups of users manipulate curation algorithms and artificially boost content popularity -- whether to increase the reach of promoted content or amplify rhetoric -- through a tactic known as ''reciprocity abuse,'' whereby each member reciprocally interacts with content posted by other members of the group.

Instagram makes it easier to exercise
People who followed researchers' motivational posts on Instagram got more enjoyment out of their training sessions.

Women deflated by #Fitspiration images
Researchers have found that the #Fitspiration philosophy is flawed, making many women feel worse about themselves and their bodies rather than inspiring them to exercise.

E-cigarette popularity on Instagram is still growing despite an FDA anti-vaping campaign
Despite a recent FDA awareness campaign about the hazards of vaping, promotional Instagram posts are 10,000-fold more prevalent than the FDA's #TheRealCost hashtag, shows a recent study.

Read More: Instagram News and Instagram Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.