Australian blogger Essena O'Neill has shocked her fans by quitting social media, claiming websites such as Instagram and YouTube portray a false reality.

The 18-year-old had amassed more than a million followers on her social media accounts combined, but she is giving it all up – along with her lucrative endorsement deals.

The Queensland model announced the news on YouTube with a video titled: "Why I REALLY Am Quitting Social Media – The Truth," which has been viewed more than 900,000 times so far.

O'Neill told her 268,000 subscribers: "I have an insight into social media that I believe not many people are aware of how it works in terms of advertisements, social media personalities and how fake it all is. I say fake because I don't think anyone has bad intentions, I just think they're caught up in it like I was.

"Taking myself off social media is a wake-up call to anyone and everyone who follows me. I had the 'dream life'... To a lot of people I made it. I was in LA and I was at the pinnacle of success in what I thought it was.

"I was dating a guy that was way more 'famous' than me. Way more successful, had a beautiful car and he was f*****g depressed. I was surrounded by all this wealth and fame and power. Yet, they were always miserable. I was the girl that had it all but let me tell you that having it all on social media means absolutely nothing to your real life."

In the 17-minute long video, O'Neill revealed how she made a living sharing promotional posts for companies, which has become the main source of income for many of the most well-known bloggers and vloggers.

"Everything I was doing was editing and contrived to get more value and to get more views," she said. "I just wanted more people to hear me so everything I did was for views, for likes, for followers. Social media is now a business and if you don't think it's a business, you're deluding yourself."

I'm quitting Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. Deleted over 2000 photos here today that served no real purpose other than self promotion. Without realising, I've spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance. Social media, especially how I used it, isn't real. It's contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It's a system based on social approval, likes, validation in views, success in followers. It's perfectly orchestrated self absorbed judgement. I was consumed by it. I spent majority of my day aimlessly scrolling, hours on YouTube... How can we see ourselves and our true purpose/talents if we are constantly viewing others? Many of us are in so deep we don't realise it's delusional powers and the impact it has on our lives. There's a select few photos I left here, half are original captions that I believe to be educational, the other half are photos that deluded you. It was never my conscious intention, but I deluded a lot of people...Call it deception, manipulation, lying, not saying the whole truth... I was both addicted to social approval and terrified no one would value me for myself. So I rewrote the captions of these false photos with short shots of reality. EVERYTHING EXPLAINED IN THE LINK IN MY BIO. There's no likes or views or followers there. Just my content as raw as I want. It's all going to be free of course. My main vegan videos will still be on YouTube, but vimeo will host all the new quality content. Made to help not to get views or $$$. How will I spread my message? Organically. If it moves someone, they tell their friends about it, simple as that. I'll be talking about vegansim, creative imagery with purpose, poems, writing, interviews with people that inspire me, and of course the finical reality behind deluding people off Instagram...I was so caught up in it all. P.S when the new form of social sharing comes out, something that doesn't revolve around likes and views but based on similar topics/quality for example, I will see you there, whenever that day comes.... We must create change.

A photo posted by Social Media Is Not Real Life (@essenaoneill) on

According to Us Weekly magazine, O'Neill has deleted more than 2,000 pictures on her Instagram account, which she has renamed "Social Media Is Not Real Life". O'Neill is now making the switch from YouTube to Vimeo, where she will post videos on her vegan lifestyle.

The reaction to the blogger quitting social media has been mixed so far, with some respecting her boldness and others unsure of her sincerity

One supporter commented: "I never paid attention to Essena O'Neill but I really admire her bravery and honesty now." However, one critic noted: "Is it supposed to be ironic that what Essena O'Neill is doing is making her more popular on social media?"

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