NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Everyone knows you shouldn’t believe everything you see online, but what about the people you follow on social media?

Some of the latest accounts drumming up attention are from people who aren’t even real.

Dreamed up by artists and realized by computer, modeling’s latest “it girl” with 1.2 million followers, Lil Miquela, doesn’t even exist in real life. Neither does Shudu. Still, people love her standout jewelry and the bold colors she wears.

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I’ve always admired these gold streamers that hang above used car lots. I’m not sure why or how this became a thing, but every time I see them it brings me a little spark of joy. Yesterday I passed by these streamers and instead of joy I was overcome with a little sadness. The last time I was here, I was with @whatdotcd and he was checking out old convertibles. I wasn’t able to see the beauty in a beat up car, but Trevor showed me how to appreciate their simplicity and style. He didn’t give me style cues or put me onto new designers, but taught me what it means to “break ankles” in basketball. I guess you could say he was a father to me? I just can't wrap my head around why he had to lie to me.

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Florence Lynah describes the worlds first digital supermodel as “beautiful.”

But when told the model is computer generated, “No way!” remarked Lynah. “Really? That’s insane, stunning.”

“Shudu was inspired by a Barbie doll,” said Shudu creator, Cameron-James Wilson. “She just became so popular.”

Wilson is a London photographer and designer.

“CGI and 3D models offer a way for us to explore or create things that we never ever seen before,” said Wilson.  “Like how can we explore beauty in a world that’s only limited by the physical things around us?”

Attorney David Polgar studies the ethics of technology.

“We are blurring the lines between fiction and reality,” said Polgar.

He believes the FTC needs guidelines for CGI influencers.

“The impetus is on the legislative branch to say okay maybe we need better transparency,” said Polgar. “There’s been a lot of discussion about technology moving at a much faster pace than the law has been able to catch up.”

We wanted to know how New Yorkers feel about these new digital influences.

“People look up to role models on Instagram and if its computer generated how much of a good influence is that?” said Justin Miller.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Zeneida Reynoso. “I don’t think we should be following robots at all. We should stop this trend before it becomes something worse.”

“It’s cool, it’s different, it’s the world we live in now,” said Florence Lynah. “I am okay with it as long as we don’t lose sight of the humanity and who we are.”

So next time you look at a star online, dig deep. He or she may actually be a figment of someone else’s imagination.


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