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What makes Instagram so attractive, so that some feel even addicted? Explore what is behind the algorithm.


  • Challenge beauty stereotypes and standards by fuelling social media with multiple shades of reality


1. Introduction: while responding to our need for socialising, social media amplifies our tendency to make comparisons between oneself and others (social comparison theory). Being surrounded by perfect bodies or selfies on social media platforms can have, therefore, a negative impact on our self-esteem. However, the web can also be a place for glorifying diversity. For example, Celeste Barber leads the “body acceptance” movement by parodying influencers' perfect pictures on her Instagram account.

2. Participants are asked to join the parody, helped by educators who should provide a selection of celebrity pictures (one is made available by Fréquence Écoles on their webpage) and of accessories to recreate them wherever the activity is taking place.

3. Choose a picture to parody

4. Take a picture of yourself parodying the original one

5. Use filters to edit the picture

6. (Optional) Upload it on Instagram using the hashtag #Stagramtoi

Reflection (Adapted from Fréquence Écoles)

  • Which function do pictures serve for celebrities using social media?
  • What do they say about reality?
  • How would you assess the beauty of a “perfect” photo?

Inspiration: Investigating the Instagram Algorithm

Investigating the Instagram Algorithm was created by Nicolas-Kayser Bril (data journalist at Algorithm Watch, coordinated AW-EDJNet’s joint investigation on Instagram’s algorithm). In this video, he explains why the subject matters and how it could be approached, despite the lack of transparency of the algorithm. Data suggests that Instagram has a bias in favour of pictures of scantily clothed men or women – this has an impact both on creators’ business and on users’ views:

Algorithm Watch was a partner of OBCT within the European Data Journalism Network. This video is part of a series of interviews on data journalism from a European perspective, which are produced by OBCT as part of EDJNet.

Inspiration: Dopamine – Or why you’re addicted to apps

By Léo Favier and Arnaud Viémont

2019/2020, 8×7′, Production Les Bons Clients, Web-series for Arte Creative Available in English and in French, subtitled in German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. A web-series of eight chapters explaining in a ludicrous way how most popular applications exploit bio-psychological tricks to get users hooked. Content, rhythm, images, language and humour make it a suitable educational tool.

Fréquence Écoles

First published in French as: Stagram toi ! - Un atelier pour démystifier les photos “parfaites” des stars d’Instagram by Fréquence Écoles.

Time 30-60 minutes

Material a selection of pictures to mock with relating accessories

Group Size max 20 people

Keywords social comparison, social media, body acceptance




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