Some social media trends start out innocent and get weird, others start out weird and only get weirder. A new trend being explored on Instagram is fake relationships being fostered over photos of stranger’s kids, stolen from the internet.
According to Fast Company, it goes like this: “Instagram users steal images of babies and children off the Internet, give them a new name, and claim them as their own. Sometimes they create entire fake families. Others then interact in the comments of each photo, role-playing as they virtually feed, burp, swaddle, and even reprimand these virtual children. Some Instagrammers even portray themselves as virtual adoption agencies, where followers can request specific babies and toddlers they’d like to adopt–“Looking for a two-year-old girl with blonde hair, green eyes, and who is feisty”–and the adoption agency then finds a photo, usually without permission. Role playing ensues.”
The account on Instagram is “adoptionrp” and it typically involves strangers making comments about how cute the baby is and then adoptionrp replying “as the baby” in kidspeak. Sometimes though, talk turns to breastfeeding and “nakey” talk. Icky.
One mother, Jenny, who’d been alerted that her baby’s photo had been, um, misappropriated, attempted to do something about it. “I explained that this private user had stolen photos of my infant daughter,” she says. “Their response was that this was impersonation of a minor and I should be reporting that a minor is using Instagram. I wrote back and said this is not a minor using Instagram. She claims she’s 14 and she’s using a picture of my baby and other babies. They never responded.”
Fast Company also reports that Instagram declined to comment to them on the matter. Welp, we’re gonna go wash our hands now.