Tech company FourFront created fictitious influencers on TikTok

Have you ever been on TikTok and seen influencer videos spilling out as they let their fans know what’s going on in their lives right now? Like TikTok user Tia (@thatsthetia), who posted videos on TikTok about her complicated love life with her ex-boyfriend, who turns out to be African royalty. It can be quite fun to watch and speculate on what will happen next, but not all the stories you’ll hear on TikTok are real, as fictional influencers are apparently a thing.

As the name suggests, a fictional influencer isn’t a real person, nor are the stories they tell in their videos. The characters and their stories feel authentic as they are created by a team of writers and performed by actors who can really channel the characters’ personalities.

@thatsthetia

how is it “baby are you a prince?” ring??

original sound – Tia

Tia is actually an example of a fictional influencer. Her Cinderella love affair with her royal boyfriend will take you on a roller coaster of emotions, but the story is fictional, just like Tia herself. The stories seem really compelling and unique as there is a whole team of writers working on the characters and their story arcs. In fact, a tech company has created a group of fictitious influencers. Tech company FourFront works closely with a team of writers to design characters and write story arcs that will keep viewers hooked, and they also have the actors playing the characters they’ve created.

According to FourFront co-founder Ilan Benjamin, the company “essentially creates a universe of MCU-style characters on TikTok.” So far, FourFront has launched 22 “stories” or character arcs, and Tia is one of them. According to the company, it has so far raised $ 1.5 million in seed funding.

Recently, Tia and other characters created by FourFront met IRL in Los Angeles, supposedly to enter a contest to win a billion dollars. This meeting also served as a “big revelation” to FourFont for the characters they created. The characters held a Zoom Live event to show that they all exist in the same universe. These fictitious influencers have racked up a total of 1.9 million followers and 281 million views.

Fictional influencers aren’t limited to TikTok, and they’re not exactly new. In June 2006, the YouTube channel Lonelygirl15 started uploading video confessionals to the platform. The channel was supposed to be run by a shy 16-year-old girl named Bree, but Bree isn’t a real person. Bree turned out to be a fictional character written by screenwriters Miles Beckett and Mesh Flinders, with the help of lawyer-producer Greg Goodfried, who is now president of D’Amelio Family Enterprises, the company that represents users. by TikTok Charli and Dixie D’Amelio.

Lots of people tune in to listen to Bree’s story, even going to forums to discuss the behind-the-scenes speculation, and by September 2006, detectives managed to snoop around that Bree wasn’t a real person – they had dug up a trademark. apps and photos of Jessica Rose, the actress who played Bree.

Many fans were disappointed that Bree turned out to be a fictional character, but the channel still maintained an following as the videos ran on YouTube for another two years. The Guardian asked Flinders if a fictional influencer like Lonelygirl15 could still exist today, and he said that today they won’t get away with long because people will be able to tell right away that she is. fictitious.

However, it may not be the same for fictional influencers on TikTok. Even though FourFront says the majority of its audience is aware that their fictional influencers are fictional, it’s actually hard to say if that’s really the case. Hashtags are meant to make videos easier to find and sort into categories, but most of the time TikTokers tend to use unrelated hashtags in their posts to increase their post traffic and write weird bios. in order to stand out from other TikTokers. On the platform. For this reason, even though FourFront now makes sure to include the hashtag #fictional in their posts and “fictitious” in character biographies, they might not be enough as pointers.

It can be seen that some viewers do indeed believe that these characters could be real, depending on how they interact with the characters. Fans would comment on character videos as if those characters were true influencers they were communicating with – they would leave comments giving advice to the characters and sometimes even share their own experiences and reactions to what the characters are going through.

@carmensandie

Reply to @ amandamyers016 #stitch with THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE I CAN GIVE .. #singles #oldermen #relationships #fictional #advice #KeepItRealMeals

original sound – 🌸 Carmen 😘

These fictional influencers aren’t real people, but they’re so well written that some fans are convinced they’re real, and their stories elicit empathy from their fans. The characters are also made to appear more real as fans can get responses from the characters as well, making it seem like they are actually talking to these fictional people.

FourFront’s fictional influencer series isn’t just for artistic purposes. The company shared with Fast Company that it plans to license their AI character voices to other companies and monetize the characters through a subscription model or by selling tickets to live events featuring the characters. According to Benjamin, the main idea the company started with was the question, “Why can’t we allow people to get close to their favorite characters?”

FourFront also encourages fans of the fictional influencers to interact with them through a separate messaging app and “unlock secrets” to learn more about their story arcs. The messaging app uses the AI ​​GPT-3 language to respond to messages from fans to characters. One of the first characters in the company, Paige, was written with the story concept where all of her friends blocked her and she couldn’t figure out why, so she turned to TikTok for some help. ‘aid.

It was initially revealed that the story was fictional, but according to Benjamin 89% still wanted to continue with the story and 42% “shared some really emotional data with the character.” He added that the company does not intend to sell the collected data, but rather use it to improve their storytelling.

These fictitious influencers were designed to entertain people, and yet it’s kind of an ethical dilemma as well. The internet already has a lot of content that feels real but isn’t designed to make money, and there’s the question of whether the characters take advantage of the sympathy of people with good intentions or people who don’t. can’t really say these characters are fake.

However, these fictitious influencers could also be platforms for change. Just as real influencers can use their voices to draw attention to issues that need to be resolved, so maybe fictional influencers can work the same way. Sure, the stories would be fictional, but if movies and TV shows can tell fictional stories while still reflecting the issues of reality, then maybe the stories these fictional influencers find themselves in can fit the same. direction.


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