On March 18, as states sent nonessential workers home and companies prepared to cut costs, the fitness influencer Paige Hathaway posted a message to her more than 4 million followers on Instagram.
“I know it’s tough with the quarantine especially for those who are unable to work so I wanted to do a giveaway for someone to receive $5,000 DOLLARS,” she wrote. The post, which was removed from Instagram shortly after this article published, featured Ms. Hathaway fanning out a stack of $100 bills.
Her fans began tagging friends and commenting about how desperately they could use the money. “I could use a miracle right about now,” one woman wrote. Several users posted prayer emojis.
As the coronavirus has continued to disrupt American lives and livelihoods, Instagram has been overrun with cash giveaways like Ms. Hathaway’s. Several popular personalities have offered cash to their fans in exchange for tags, follows and comments, including Harry Jowsey, a star of the new Netflix reality show “Too Hot to Handle”; the lifestyle influencers Caitlin Covington and Laura Beverlin; and the rapper and social media star Bhad Bhabie.