18-year old viral star quits Instagram claiming social media 'is not real life'

An Australian teenager with more than half a million followers on Instagram has quit the platform.

18-year old viral star quits Instagram claiming social media 'is not real life'

An Australian teenager with more than half a million followers on Instagram has quit the platform, describing it as “contrived perfection made to get attention”, and called for others to quit social media.

Essena O’Neill, 18, made an emotional statement about the dark side of social media, saying that some of her “candid” poses were artificial and done just for the ‘gram'.

With more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, Australian Essena became a social media celebrity through posting images of her apparently picture perfect lifestyle.

She now says it left her feeling empty and addicted to social media likes.

In a 17-minute video which she uploaded onto her YouTube account, she vows to act against the "unhealthy" ideals of social media.

She deleted 2,000 photos on Instagram that, she said, "served no real purpose other than self-promotion", and scrapped her other social accounts.

She said she was re-editing captions on the remaining photos hosted on her Instagram account to reveal that 'Social media isn't real. It's a system based on social approval, likes, validation in views, success in followers,'

"It's perfectly orchestrated self-absorbed judgement. I was consumed by it."

Ms O'Neill's followers on Instagram largely reacted with praise for her stand against social media.

"Your honesty and vulnerability are so powerful. I'm very proud of the direction you are taking," commented Gina Hart, a user from Melbourne.

Watch her emotional video below.

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