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I Unfollowed Everyone Who Violated COVID-19 Guidelines On Instagram. You Should Too.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

Despite the existence of one of the world’s most dire public health crises, a large portion of users on Instagram continue to post photos of their lives as if they’re still living in 2019. At the start of the pandemic, I felt that my Instagram feed was mostly filled with pictures of baked creations, cute pets, or memes about toilet paper shortages. Instagram was a way to connect and bond with other people who were also glued to their couch and eating chocolate chips straight out of the bag. 

Now, as the pandemic continues, it seems as if only a small portion of the population cares about their safety. The group pictures on my feed have given me a weird sense of fear of missing out (F.O.M.O.), even though the thought of going to a huge party right now makes my skin crawl. 

My unfollowing spree started with the advent of fall quarter. As more students moved into Isla Vista, the pandemic parties ensued. I could hear the thumping bass of music every night on Del Playa Drive, forcing me to sleep with earplugs. The next morning I would wake up to my feed flooded with pictures from those parties. 


COVID sign with orange background
Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

At first, I felt jealous and even tempted to let loose myself. Moments later, a wave of anger overcame me. The fact that hundreds of students living just a few blocks away from me did not care about others’ health infuriated me. While my Isla Vista neighbors risked their lives just to drink White Claws in a sweaty frat house, I remained cooped up in my apartment, witnessing it all online. Finally, hitting the unfollow button felt therapeutic. They didn’t deserve my likes anyway. 

I also unfollowed almost half of the celebrities and influencers in my following list. I found it extremely hypocritical for famous individuals to promote mask-wearing and social distancing in March 2020 and then give up months later. With such large online platforms, influencers need to realize that violating the COVID-19 guidelines for an Instagram photo could cost them their following. Influencers have the power to literally ‘influence’ people’s decisions, so going on vacation to Tahiti – *cough* Kim Kardashian *cough* – is very unwise and insensitive to everyone taking the pandemic seriously. 

No one should feel guilty about unfollowing accounts on Instagram that are promoting unsafe behavior. A large portion of my mental health corresponds with my digital wellbeing. Reporting accounts and removing that content from my life definitely helped. I suggest unfollowing all ‘pandemic partygoers’ and following cute dog accounts instead (I’m not kidding). Once you don’t have to wake up every morning to pictures of huge house parties, you’ll be so grateful that you stayed safe and removed that negativity from your life. 

Stephanie Gerson is a first-year student studying Art History at UC Santa Barbara. She is from Palo Alto, California and she is passionate about sustainability, fashion, fitness, and vegan cooking. In her spare time, Stephanie loves going on bike rides around campus, catching up with friends, or spending hours completing her latest embroidery piece!
 University of California, Santa Barbara chapter of Her Campus