Belle Gibson used various forms of social media to market a unique product: herself. She used social media, in particular instagram and facebook to skyrocket her success. She went on to launch her lifestyle app, The Whole Pantry, which went on to win Best App Of 2013. From there is launched her book of the same name with Penguin Publishing. Belle made approximately a million dollars off the app and book, 25% in which she donated to charity, had 25,000+ adoring followers on instagram and an inspiring and dominant social media presents.
Her achievements seem amazing as they are, but she did this all while battling cancer. Belle has suffered from brain tumors and cancers in her blood, spleen, uterus and brain that then spread to her liver and kidney. Miraculously she recovered from her awful illnesses by rejecting chemotherapy and switching to a whole food and wellness diet. This lifestyle combatted the disease and nurtured her back to health, and through her social media she promotes doing the same.
This tale of endearment and inspiration has a tragic ending- it was all fabricated.
– No cancer
– No brain tumors
– No money to charity
– But still millions of dollars to her name because of the lies
Belle’s tale fell apart when many media source, which had once reported on her inspirational story started find major loophole in her story. A medical professional says if Belle had all forms of cancer she claims and didn’t undergo chemo, there is an 80% chance she wouldn’t be here today. Not only did people invest massive amount of money into her, but also trust. People reconsidered and dropped out of chemo because of her fictitious story, which is ridiculously dangerous, and life risking. To top the list of awful things she has done, the 25% of funds she promised to charities were kept for personal use. Belle Gibson has been ridiculed in front of the nation with Women’s Weekly and 60 Minutes both running stories exposing her and her lies. Her punishment looks like enormous fines and possible jail time.
But the question still stands, how did someone raise to this much fame?
As Tara Brown commented on after her interview with Bella on 60 Minutes, the positive with people like her leads us to question about who we take at face value and investigate further. Obviously social media is a great platform to launch a product or idea and especially in today’s culture, launching oneself as an entrepreneur or socialite or public figure. Unfortunately there is a dark side to this, as pictures and 152 characters don’t tell the whole story. This case study shows how much influence social media has in this day of age- this situation never would of occurred 10 years ago. I hope that situations and people like this show audiences the power of social media but also create awareness to how people can take advantage of the dominance of social media.