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a Fake Hair

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Dark Growth HackingInstagram

There is a fake hair on this ad to get you to swipe up. Someone needs to stop these “growth hackers.”

Instagram Stories are fantastic. But because there’s almost nothing left that doesn’t involve money in a loud, tacky way, there are often ads in the middle of Instagram Stories.

Today on the web, a self-proclaimed, confusingly young venture capitalist named Blake Robbins brought the world’s attention to an Instagram Stories ad for a Chinese sneaker manufacturer called Kaiwei Ni. Whoever made the ad, he notes, designed it to look as if there is a stray hair in the middle of whatever phone screen it appears on. It’s disturbing, not just because single hairs are somehow much more disgusting to look at than heads of hair, but also because the goal is to trick Instagram users into swiping up on the ad and travelling to a sneaker manufacturer’s website by accident.

Later: This ad violated Instagram’s policies and was removed from future delivery in Stories several weeks ago. We also disabled the account from advertising on the platform again.