Every boom must have a bust. This is the plight faced by Instagram influencers now. Only two years ago, these digital marketers and content creators seemed unassailable. But times, and algorithms, change. Fast forward to 2019 and a constant stream of headlines are reporting Rome is on the brink of falling and the barbarians — aka people who make TikToks — are at the gates. First came the media backlash. From late 2017 onwards, readers gleefully consumed a slew of exposés that revealed an apparent rotten core at the heart of an industry that made its money from aspirational polish and perfection. Luxury hotels complained about an influx of influencers demanding free stays while content whistleblowers laid bare the widespread practice of buying fake followers. Well-publicized crackdowns by advertising standards agencies on undisclosed sponsorships that followed did little to dispel the general miasma of unethical behavior that began to trail the term ‘influencer’. Read more at i-D.