What is sadfishing, the trend that is flooding social networks with tears?

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Expressing emotions of sadness, distress or even anguish on social networks allows certain influencers to attract viewers to their content and even to attract new subscribers. This trend has been dubbed “sadfishing,” and the phenomenon is such that it’s spawned a new filter on Snapchat: the crying face.

Bella Hadid made news last November after posting a lengthy Instagram post about her unhappiness, along with several selfies showing her eyes red with tears. The goal? To remind his community that “social networks are not reality”, in other words that his supposed dream life does not exempt him, like everyone else, from feeling bad. The reactions were quick: 2.5 million likes and nearly 23,000 comments. While the 50 million-follower probably wasn’t looking for such engagement – because she doesn’t need it – it’s worth noting that this post was far more successful than her previous ones – and those that followed. .

In search of a certain authenticity

Expressions of happiness and optimism took a hit. Lately, it’s not laughs or smiles that create engagement on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, but tears. Filming yourself close-up crying after a breakup, death, or other distressing life event can earn influencers and other celebrities the sympathy — and the likes — of followers. This is the very, albeit unofficial, definition of “sadfishing”. And the more extreme the negative statements – and emotions – seem, the more successful the message.

Journalist Rebecca Reid is credited with coining the term ‘sadfishing’ in 2019. And it’s not so much about staging her sadness, but accentuating it, to spark interest on social media . Adele, Travis Scott and Kendall Jenner are among the celebrities who have put themselves in such a situation, while many influencers on these platforms reveal themselves in videos, each more tearful than the next.

Always full of contrasts and contradictions, social networks today oscillate between a certain ideal of perfection and a quest for authenticity; “sadfishing” is supposed to fall into the second category, as a way of confusing the idea of ​​perfection. And the trend continues to grow on social networks, to the point that the hashtags #divorce and #anxiety, which allow users to find this type of video, now account for more than seven and 14 billion views respectively.

A tearful filter on Snapchat

And for those who might not have the talent to cry on command, Snapchat now offers a crying face filter that totally transforms the face. Just turn it on and users see a sad version of themselves, and the more they laugh in front of the phone screen, the more the filter shows their grief. It’s almost a laugh. – AFP Relax news

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