Flophouses, sorry, flop accounts on Instagram

Over at The Atlantic, Taylor Lorenz informs us teenagers are using ‘flop accounts’ on Instagram to debate and distribute the news.

What the hell are flop accounts?

[…] pages that are collectively managed by several teens, many of them devoted to discussions of hot-button topics: gun control, abortion, immigration, President Donald Trump, LGBTQ issues, YouTubers, breaking news, viral memes.

And their content?

The accounts post photos, videos, and screenshots of articles, memes, things, and people considered a “flop,” or, essentially, a fail. A flop could be a famous YouTuber saying something racist, someone being rude or awful in person, a homophobic comment, or anything that the teen who posted it deems wrong or unacceptable. Some of the teens who run a given account know one another in real life; more likely, they met online.

The kids say these accounts are more accurate than what’s being put out by news organizations:

“A lot of news nowadays claims to be facts, but it’s based off people’s opinions or they purposefully omit information,” she said. “I wish we could trust articles more, but it’s been proven multiple times of people reporting things that aren’t true. It’s just hard to know who to trust, so you always feel the need to check things yourself. You can’t just read an article and take it as fact, because there’s always a chance that it isn’t.”

I think these Instagram accounts are fine as an outlet for kids to talk about issues with their peers, but the irony is they are exactly what they claim to be fighting against. Ah to be young and ignorant.

The teenage admins of these flophouses need to truly understand how journalism works and how companies like The Washington Post and The New York Times operate.


Community, Journalism