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Instagram influencers hashtag California wildfires to promote products



California wildfire
Instagram influencers are
using hashtags related to the California wildfires to promote
their products. A firefighter sprays water near a burning home as
the Camp Fire spread in Magalia, California, on November

Justin Sullivan/Getty

  • Many people have used Instagram to post photos of the
    devastating wildfires in Northern and Southern California,
    which have left at least 84 people dead.
  • Many Instagram influencers have used hashtags related
    to the event to promote unrelated products.
  • Using keywords or hashtags related to breaking news
    events to gain views is not a totally new phenomenon.

A slew of Instagram influencers are using the devastating
California wildfires to promote products and make money.

Multiple users have been referencing the wildfires in Northern
and Southern California or using related hashtags to post
unrelated photos of themselves, and tagging their posts with
brands they are sponsoring.

Photos of the fires’ devastating aftermath, which can be found
under hashtags including #californiafires, #woolseyfire, and
#malibufires, all appear alongside ads for various products.

Read more:

A day in Chico, California: Photos show how survivors are helping
each other cope and keep warm after their harrowing escapes from
the Camp Fire

and Subscribe,”
a TV show that parodies influencers, and

both pointed out the phenomenon this week.

For example, @destinationvine, a company that offers private wine
country tours in California, posted a photo of
a bottle of wine to promote “Wine Wednesday,” while using the
#malibufire tag.

Skincare company @veridattacollection also posted a
 alongside the #malibufire tag saying that the
“Malibu fires were life chaging for me,” while linking to a
photographer and the company’s brand account in the post.

@_earn_with_emily, an account dedicated to bitcoin, used 19
hashtags containing the word “california” — including
#californiafires, #californahighwaypatrol, and #californiatattoos
— to advertise bitcoin mining in a Thursday

Using trending hashtags to promote products is not a new
phenomenon. Many people on platforms like Twitter and Instagram
have used keywords and hashtags related to breaking news events —
like terror attacks — to sell their products and post unrelated
content in the past.

This is called “keyword squatting,” BuzzFeed reported, citing
researcher Joan Donovan. It “in a sense is free marketing,”
Donovan said. “If you’re selling a product beyond just yourself,
it could translate into cash.”

Business Insider has contacted Instagram for comment.

The death toll from the Camp Fire in Northern California, and the
Woolsey Fire in Southern California,
rose to 84 on Wednesday night
. Around 990 people remain

Read more:

‘I was sitting in my car just screaming, waiting to die’: A
survivor of California’s Camp Fire describes her harrowing

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