5 Times Instagram Influencers Made The World A Dumber Place

Social media has many advantages, like helping you stay in touch with family or letting you know which of your former high school crushes believe the Earth is shaped like a pancake. Unfortunately, it can also turn otherwise nice people into obnoxious, destructive jerks in the blink of an eye. Here are a few more instances of idiocy fueled by social media.

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5
People Risk Their Lives To Take Photos At An Industrial Waste Dump

It's no secret that most of what you see on Instagram has about as much basis on reality as the latest MCU movie. An influencer's too-good-to-be-true home might be a designed-for-Instagram hourly rental, and that gorgeous turquoise water might be ... toxic? Outside the Siberian city of Novosibirsk is a gorgeous "lake," known to locals as the Siberian Maldives. It's beautiful, it's picturesque, and it will kill you quickly. This hasn't stopped people from swarming its shores in hopes of taking the perfect selfie.

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Also in hopes of growing a third arm, thus rendering their selfie stick obsolete.

The water's stunningly lovely shade of blue is caused by the not-so-lovely effluent from a nearby power plant. It's less a "lake" and more a retention pond / ash dump that's "saturated with heavy metals and harmful substances." Despite stern warnings of allergic reactions, chemical burns, and the bottom being so muddy that it's "almost impossible" to escape, people show up in everything from bikinis to wedding dresses to take photographs. Some risk literal life and limb by using paddle boards or plastic floats on the "water." Some even organize picnics on the banks, and at least one guy has gone for a swim. We're assuming he emerged transformed into a prettier, much dumber version of Swamp Thing.

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This was originally a yacht, but it slowly dissolved.

Why hasn't the company that owns the plant and surrounding area tried to stop this? They have! They blocked off the road leading to the dump, but people continued coming in on foot. Eventually they were forced to set up around-the-clock security to keep trespassers away. Probably not the sort of "influence" they were hoping to have.

Related: 5 Reasons Social Media Influencers Are Getting Even Weirder

4
That "GoPro On A Conveyor Belt" Video Led The Restaurant Chain To Ban Photography

Hey, remember that cute, harmless video of someone putting a GoPro on a sushi conveyor belt that went viral last year? No you don't, because there's nothing harmless about pulling this sort of stunt, it turns out.

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It's not just that most of the diners never consented to being part of a Wes-Anderson-esque montage that would be seen by millions of people. There's also the issue of hygiene ... or the lack thereof. Sushi, after all, is usually raw, so keeping it germ-free is rather important. And since that GoPro could have been Cthulhu-knows-where getting untold manners of dirty, it really had no business being next to people's food.

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Despite the YouTuber's claim that the staff "were cool with it," this incident led the restaurant chain to ban photography and video recording in all of its locations, and the company plans to pursue "severe legal action" against future GoPro shenanigans. Which is a real tragedy, because what's the point of eating out if you can't take a photo and force all your friends to scroll past it?

Related: 5 Reasons We Need To Slow The Hell Down On Social Media

3
Instagrammers Forced The Australian Government To Install A Public Toilet By A Random Boathouse

How would you feel if people from all over the world started paying crazy attention to, say, your next-door neighbor's fence? You've never given that fence a second thought, but people with cameras show up in droves to take photos with it. They park on your lawn, make tons of noise, and when they're done with the fence, they demand to use your bathroom. Substitute "fence" with "shed" and that's more or less the surreal situation happening in Perth.

This is the only building in Australia with 0% snakes.JarrahTree/Wikimedia CommonsThis is the only building in Australia with 0% snakes.

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Somewhere on the Swan River is a small wooden boathouse someone named, very optimistically, the Crawley Edge Boatshed. It's been there since the 1930s, and it's the kind of place that sort of blends into the background, like a bird fountain or homeless people. Or at least, that's how it was, until Instagrammers discovered the place and launched it to overnight stardom. Suddenly the lowly boat shed became the most visited spot in Perth, with tour buses unapologetically shuttling masses of daytrippers to the site so they can snap the perfect pic with it.

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Admittedly, the way Aussies pronounce "shed" is pretty funny, but that's no reason for mass hysteria.

So what's the big deal? Well, the shed is located off a major road, and was in no way designed to have hordes of tourists milling around speeding traffic. There's no place to park, so the entire area becomes congested, creating major delays and hazards. Most annoyingly, local business owners report that after waiting in line and having their moment of glory with the boathouse, the tourists show up and (often rudely) demand to use their restrooms. As if they don't have a perfectly good pier right there.

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The pooping issue got so serious that the city spent $278,000 U.S. to install Perth's first solar-powered public toilet at the site, so that Instagrammers have a convenient place to pop a squat. Not only that, but they're also flushing an additional $14,000 U.S. per year to maintain it. At least until all those tourists decide to obsess over a mailbox in Manila or something.

Related: 6 Stories That Prove Instagram Influencers Are The Worst

2
Influencers Trampled And Destroyed California's Beautiful Poppy Superbloom

In March 2019, California finally made the news for something bright orange that wasn't a wildfire. Unusually heavy rains spawned a massive poppy "superbloom," and the hills of Lake Elsinore were covered in millions of gorgeous flowers. You could even see it from space! It was one of the most beautiful things in nature ... until it was ruined by one of the worst: a horde of Instagram users.

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Photos of the poppies spread through social media like wildfire (sorry), and before long, the beautiful hills of poppies were crawling with people desperate to snap a selfie among the flowers. Predictably, the place got trampled, and soon the poppy fields were pockmarked with the imprints of a thousand butts.

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Before long, the poppy-palooza turned into a poppy-apocalypse, and steps had to be taken. People stopped all along major highways and caused such significant traffic problems that residents of the nearby town were unable to leave. Plus, so many poppies got smushed that officials closed the canyon so the flowers could recover. Or ... they tried to.

Instagrammers can read comments, but not signs, it turns out.

Related: 6 Scientific Reasons Facebook Turns Everybody Into A Jerk

1
The Auschwitz Memorial Museum Had To Ask People To Stop Taking "Balance Beam" Selfies On The Railroad Tracks

We've already delivered the depressing news that officials had to ask people to stop playing Pokemon Go at Auschwitz. Is it even possible for humanity to sink lower than that? It is our sad duty to inform you that yes, it totally can. In March 2019, the Auschwitz Memorial Museum was forced to speak up once again, issuing a Twitter plea for visitors to stop taking "balance beam" selfies on the freaking railroad tracks.

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At least those misguided Pokemon Goers were following the noble ideal of trying to be the very best, like no one ever was.

Sadly, the same sort of boneheaded behavior occurs with increasing frequency at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. But unlike the Auschwitz staff, who make fervent appeals to people's better natures, the Berlin memorial found a different sort of champion. An Israeli-German writer named Shahak Shapira was so appalled by people posing ridiculously and disrespectfully on the memorial that he started a website called "Yolocaust." Clearly speaking the language of the Instagram-addicted, he took their photos and replaced the backgrounds with black and white images of the Holocaust -- corpses, emaciated victims, mass graves. Disturbing content below, if you hadn't guessed.

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But if you visit the Yolocaust website now, all you'll see is a letter from Shapira saying that almost all of the users featured in the photos "understood the message," apologized, and deleted the offending pictures. Could it be that social-media-inspired stupidity is actually curable? Don't do that, Shahak. Don't give us hope.

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For more, check out Why Parents Who Over Share On Social Media Ruin Their Kids:


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