Instagram star quits social media, leaves 500,000 followers behind


Emily Chien

After years of documenting her life online, the familiar Essena O’Neill’s departure from social media has caused fellow famed social media users to respond. Nina Nelson and Randa Nelson, friends of O’Neill, recorded and shared a video via YouTube criticizing her for her claims about ‘fakeness’ within the social media world. Additionally, other vegan bloggers took her words offensively and made an effort to prove the positive side of social media still existed.

Essena O’Neill, 19-year-old Australian lifestyle blogger, recently took the step to delete all of her outlets on the internet. The catch? She had over half a million followers on Instagram.

Sophomore Thea Ferdinand said, “She was building her social media presence and making a very good name for herself. I feel like all of a sudden she threw it away because she hit a breaking point.”

O’Neill’s main message on social media was spreading positivity, explaining the benefits of veganism, and being a role model to thousands.

Ferdinand said, “My friends and I were active followers of her. We adored her style, lifestyle, and everything. Her account radiated positivity, but no one could ever be sure what she was thinking as she was posting.”

In a video explaining her disappearance, O’Neill made clear that she believed social media was fake. She became addicted to the likes and positive comments, even claiming to have posed her photos and captioning her posts again with honest thoughts.

Ferdinand said, “Instagram is what you make of it. In essence, it is a platform for people to share photos. When some people scroll through, though, they just feel bad about themselves after seeing beautiful people doing exciting things.”

O’Neill started quite a wave. Overnight, controversy erupted regarding her public exit. Responses have been both positive and negative, with some claiming she overreacted, some agreeing with her reasoning.

Ferdinand said, “I like to see social media in a different way. Essena did what she felt was right, and I have to respect how brave she was in doing that.”

“When I post on Instagram, it is fun to see all the memories unfold and share them with friends. And, when I scroll through my feed, other people inspire me. None of it really needs to be negative.”