Cost To Influence

The cost to influence
Influence is power. The rise of digital media makes this power more accessible than ever before — but it comes at a price.

In The Cost To Influence, the Daily Dot examines what it means to change human behavior, and more importantly, what it costs. In these stories, taxpayers fund million-dollar PSAs, drag queens shell out thousands to perform Taylor Swift-inspired shows, live streamers earn hundreds by the hour, and police officers make TikTok ads a side hustle.
TikTok live streamers with icons over TikTok color wave background
Live streamers are taking over the gift economy with NPC role-plays
Taylor Swift and impersonator over The Eras Tour ticket background
Meet the drag queens spending thousands to impersonate Taylor Swift
Lady Gaga over background of hundred-dollar bills
How Lady Gaga and a $14-million PSA campaign aided water conservation
police officer in car using laptop
A background check company is secretly paying cops on TikTok to push its services
Workers installing billboard outdoor
Is social media spending on drunk driving campaigns making a difference?
Produced by Kris Seavers and David Covucci

Stories by Amelia Wu, Angela Lim, Athena Hawkins, Dylan Winward, and Kristine Villarroel

Art by Jason Reed
The Daily Dot
The Daily Dot