An Instagram travel star with 29,000 followers exposed the secret ‘Instagram mafia’ people use to inflate their numbers

sara melotti

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Travel photographer Sara Melotti wrote a blog post exposing all the things some Instagram stars do to get their numbers up.
  • Some collective accounts charge fees for exposure, and some travelers sacrifice creativity for photos that they know will get likes.
  • There’s also an ‘Instagram mafia’ where creators inflate each other’s engagement on posts.

From the look of Sara Melotti’s Instagram account, you’d think her wanderings through lush fields, scenic roads, and quaint shoreside towns around the world are driven purely by wanderlust and a thirst for adventure. But beneath the pristine sunsets and artsy lens flares, a toxic culture obsessed with numbers, gimmicks, and fame has been simmering for too long.

Melotti has finally had enough of the games and decided to come clean about the truth behind glamorous Instagram travel accounts — including her own.

“I was just feeling really sick,” she told INSIDER. “I’m ashamed of everything I’ve done in the last six months.”

Instagram has become a numbers game.

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