Blue for Sudan is being exploited by Instagram users to gain more followers
18 June 2019, 16:19
Accounts like the Sudan Meal Project are using the blue profile picture movement for their own gain...
The Blue for Sudan movement is being exploited by Instagram users as a means to gain more followers and, in some cases, money.
Recently people on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have been replacing their profile pictures with a simple blue image. The social media movement is in response to the ongoing atrocities currently taking place in Sudan. Over one hundred peaceful protestors have been killed and there is an internet lockdown in the country. Blue profile pictures are being used to raise awareness about the horrific news. However, some people are using the movement for their own gain.
How are people exploiting the Blue for Sudan movement?
Since the Blue for Sudan movement began, numerous new Instagram accounts have been set up which are claiming to offer aid to those affected by what's happening in Sudan. @SudanMealProject amassed nearly 400,000 followers in the space of a week and there other similar accounts (@sudan.meals.project, @mealsforsudan, @SudanMealOfficial etc.) which already have tens of thousands of followers.
Sadly all of the accounts are fake. The @SudanMealProject account has been deleted now but originally its bio read: "We’re committed to donating up to 100,000 meals to Sudanese civilians”. The account also shared one post, writing: “For every STORY REPOST this post gets, we will provide one meal to Sudanese children, and you will help spread awareness on what’s happening in Sudan.”
Speaking to The Atlantic, Joe English, a UNICEF communications specialist, said: "It’s incredibly difficult to send meals to Sudan." In other words, it would be impossible for these accounts to do what they're promising. The Atlantic also contacted @SudanMealProject and they responded: "What I am obtaining is followers and exposure. I love how the left likes to twist these stories.”
Thanks to The Atlantic's investigative journalism, many of these accounts are now being deleted and Instagram is looking out for them. However, there are plenty which are still live and some are even asking for money via PayPal accounts. With that in mind, it's important that you stay wary on social media and don't fall into the trap of supporting one of them.
There are also plenty of Sudanese activists doing important work for Sudan both on and off social media, who you can support. Not to mention, well-established organisations like Save the Children, UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee are doing viral work.