Cybersmile partnered with Instagram personality Chessie King to dramatize the damaging impact of cyberbullying.
According to figures obtained by the non-profit Cybersmile, 43 percent of U.K. secondary and high school children have been exposed to online abuse and one in four have suffered repeated incidents. This form of bullying can lead to depression, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, self-harm, social isolation, and, in the worst cases, suicide. This problem, however, is little discussed.
To promote awareness of and opposition to cyberbullying, the charity Cybersmile undertook a 24-hour Instagram campaign that manipulated the online appearance of body-positive influencer Chessie King in response to real negative comments posted to a live Instagram story. King became uglier in response to each comment, culminating in an extremely distorted final image, dramatizing the campaign’s message that “Trolling is ugly.”
The campaign started with a post on King’s Instagram account about body confidence. The post garnered over 150,000 views in the first 12 hours. Cybersmile then responded to negative comments left by online trolls by co-creating a series of photos and videos with King that was posted as to King’s Instagram story the following day. With each post, King’s appearance became more and more distorted, eventually appearing in an inhuman form: a materialization of the Insta-haters’ comments.
News of Cybersmile’s campaign landed in headlines online and offline in a matter of hours of the organization’s explanation of the meaning behind the change in King’s appearance.