The video was captured during an influencer training in China organized by a private company.
We have not found any evidence linking the video in question to any school or university.
In August 2023, a video went viral, allegedly depicting an Asian "influencer school." It showed a large room, full of people in pink shirts recording videos on their phones with ring lamps.
Influencer Schools in Asia
This is next level, a legion of influencers to influence… you.
What's the equivalent in the west if any?
— Linus (●ᴗ●) (@LinusEkenstam) August 22, 2023
We found the same video had been posted in 2020 by EhaiTech, a Chinese digital marketing agency. Its description read:
When marketing evolves at an amazing speed, new professions are being born. In China, people understood influencers' power, and they are trying to be ready for the future. Special training is held to teach people how to become professional influencers.
TinEye reverse image search results indicated that the video had circulated on Reddit since 2020. We checked Baidu, the most popular search engine in China, and reverse image search results showed that many similar videos were posted on various Chinese websites.
(Baidu search engine)
For instance, a video from the same event was published on Weishi, a Chinese social media app, and its caption read "现在教学拍摄" which means "Teaching and shooting now." Another caption read "E-commerce entrepreneurship, online celebrity live broadcast shooting training site." The comments on other similar videos published on Weishi indicated that the video was captured in early November 2020.
The video in question was originally published on Nov. 6, 2020, by @zj1606571983 user on Douyin (a Chinese version of TikTok). It reached 59 thousand views and over 8 thousand comments. Its caption read "网红培训" which translates to "Internet celebrity training." The same user posted a similar video captioned "60-year-old internet celebrity grandma" (we translated the captions from Chinese using Google Translate).
Some articles indicated that the footage was captured in Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College in Zhejiang, China. Moreover, various websites such as Business Insider cited a 2017 article published by Mashable about the Chinese college training future influencers, that read:
At the YWICC, students are practicing in dance studios and being taught how to dress fashionably.
21-year-old Mengna Jiang is one of 33 students -- mostly women -- majoring in the school's Modelling and Etiquette course. Students who complete three years of the course will be awarded with an associate degree.
To cut it as an influencer, you'll need to know, for a start: "aesthetic cultivation" and "fashion sensitivity"; "public relations etiquette" and photo processing skills.
What's more, we found a BBC video from 2019 with the title "Inside China's child pop star factory," about a young girl that attended an idol training:
Young, mostly female, wannabe stars are being trained for China's booming idol industry worth billions of dollars.
Yang Jingxin, 12, became an idol trainee three years ago. Every weekend, she trains with her agency on singing and dancing in the southern suburbs of Beijing. She is hoping to become a future star. But how likely is it for her to succeed in the highly competitive industry?
However, according to our research, the in-question video was not captured at Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College. Rather, it documented an influencer training session in China organized by a private company. Sohu, a Chinese Internet company, used a screenshot from the video in question in an article regarding influencer trainings in Daxing, a district of Beijing, the capital of China. Here you can read a fragment of the article that we translated from Chinese using Google Translate:
The completion of the Starlight Internet Celebrity Check-in Base will once again improve the quality and upgrade of cultural entertainment, patriotic education, theatrical performances, and Internet celebrity anchor live broadcasts in the Daxing region!
Importantly, no university or school was mentioned in the article. Videos from the event indicated that it was organized or sponsored by Shezi (奢姿), a Chinese cosmetic brand. Moreover, we found multiple Chinese websites and social media posts marketing influencer training camps and events, some of them using screenshots from videos similar to the one in question.
(Sohu and Baidu websites)
Though some Chinese colleges do offer influencer training courses, we found no information linking the video in question to any school or university, and various sources indicate that it was captured during a celebrity training organized by a private company. We have thus rated this claim as Mixture.