What is deinfluencing (defluencing)? Explanation, Meaning, Definition

Defluencing is a trend on TikTok in which defluencers report on their negative experiences with certain products and warn their followers about their consumption. In this way, they want to raise the consumer awareness of their fans. Defluencing sees itself as a countermovement to influencing. The hashtag #defluencing was called up 62 million times in a very short time (as of 1.02.23).

What is deinfluencing (defluencing)? Explanation, meaning, definition

Almost overnight, new fashion trends emerge on social media channels. Manufacturers propagate their own cosmetic style for each look, which young people have often adopted uncritically in the past and thus subordinated themselves to the buying dictates. Many fashion labels bring out up to 10 collections a year, and the number of matching makeup and cosmetics lines is correspondingly high.

The possibility of easy installment payments additionally fuels overconsumption. In their videos, the predominantly female Defluencer:innen talk about products that, from their point of view, have turned out to be bad buys and do not fulfill the promises made. They also point out to use up already purchased products to the last remnant and not to throw them away after two or three uses.

Since the video platform TikTok is one of the most used apps in the world (more than 1 billion users), the warnings of the defluencers have a significant impact on the sales figures of the criticized products and the image of the companies that rely heavily on influencer marketing.

Although defluencers primarily focus on recommendations from influencers who are not sponsored by companies, they also scrutinize brand product recommendations. In the vast majority of cases, it revolves around skin care and cosmetic products. It is often claimed that these are the secret cosmetics of the star. Defluencers are now countering these claims, demystifying the products and showing their downsides. They like to claim that they want to prevent their followers from making bad purchases. Their videos not only deal with individual products, but also with entire brands.

They also talk about expensive branded headphones, shoes, curling irons, hairdryers and hairbrushes. With their anti-consumer attitude, defluencers support criticism of untrustworthy influencers, who can cause considerable damage to companies‘ images. They are met not only with aversion, but often enough even with hatred.

Deinfluencing: Trend against overconsumption: criticism of consumer behavior

One explanation for the defluencing trend is that in addition to Germany, many other countries also experienced significant inflation in 2022. Due to the high increase in the cost of living, people are forced to save much more than before.

Due to the recession, Generation Z in particular considers defluencing to be necessary, because they are the generation that was unable to save large sums of money as a result of several crises. For them, large purchases such as home ownership are becoming increasingly unrealistic. As a result, the so-called „lipstick effect“ has emerged. People afford the small comforts of life, such as cosmetics, as a substitute for luxury goods. Defluencers on TikTok encourage people to invest in their own future instead of accumulating disposable products, and to save for a larger purchase, for example.

Defluencing can also be viewed critically, because it influences in the same way as influencing. Critics of defluencing argue that there are many reputable and authentic influencers. They also argue that it is legitimate for companies to advertise their products. Ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own purchasing behavior.

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