Followers of the Instagram account @deuxmoi heard that Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde were dating long before it hit the headlines of People. From pregnancy rumors to actors’ lunch orders, DeuxMoi covers it all. It’s a collection of crowdsourced tidbits stitched together in long Instagram stories that aren’t even saved to the account’s highlights: fast–paced, unapologetic, and leaving no receipts.

Between Instagram DMs and an online form, DeuxMoi's stories are full of celebrity sightings and anecdotes from followers of the pseudo–tabloid. Sources aren’t credited; in fact, pseudonyms are required for contributors. The woman behind DeuxMoi is also notoriously anonymous, though the account is far from unbiased: she frequently refers to celebrities as “my favorite” and overlays her own opinions atop the screenshots of her followers’ scoops. It’s word–of–mouth. It’s hearsay. And it’s wholly entertaining. 

Gossip magazines have always been a cruel sort of muckraking journalism that prey on our mass guilty fascination with celebrity culture. But unlike its print–based predecessors, DeuxMoi doesn’t claim to be true. In fact, in the words of the account’s lone saved Instagram “FAQS” highlight, "Believe what you want, or don’t believe any of what is posted. This was started for F–U–N.” A private account that accepts nearly all requests, DeuxMoi's follower count only continues to grow, surpassing 600k. It’s a new form of celebrity gossip that’s not going away anytime soon.

While publications like People and Us Weekly remain staples of the evolving media industry as they target supermarket busybodies with flashy headlines and unflattering paparazzi shots, DeuxMoi is—for the most part—respectful of the famous people it exploits. It’s not about scoops or narratives, but pure crowdsourced information–sharing followed even by the celebrities themselves. While looking at off–guard paparazzi photos feels gross and invasive, something about slipping into anecdotal Instagram stories is a seemingly harmless escape, especially in a quarantine.

And the growing world of Instagram gossip goes beyond DeuxMoi. Amanda Hirsch’s @notskinnybutnotfat similarly publicizes celebrity gossip, but with her own takes and a podcast breaking down the latest celebrity drama. Unlike Deuxmoi, Hirsch directly inserts herself into narratives, sharing her personal life and opinions and promoting content from other accounts. It’s all part of a growing culture of Instagram voyeurism that blurs fandom, fiction, and true celebrity scoops. We even see our own microcosm of the anonymous, gossipy phenomenon with the ever–popular @upenn.memes page. Infamous for its anonymous, student-submitted “Penn L’s,” we’re inevitably engrossed with juicy stories of strangers—and all the drama surrounding it.

But there’s a dark underside of an account that posts speculative, unverified information to such a huge and growing follower base. In addition to sweet celebrity interactions, DeuxMoi posts the more serious break–up rumors, personal details of divorces, and even accusations of assault. Just this week, DeuxMoi promoted screenshots posted by @houseofeffie full of DMs from women speaking out about alleged cannibalism, abuse, and sexual assault by Armie Hammer. In a post–#MeToo world, we want to hold celebrities accountable, but what are the implications of the story breaking through unverified and anonymous social media accounts? Even with the disclaimers of unverified information from the account, the consequences of rumors don’t disappear with the 24–hour Stories. Even if Gen Z is rejecting the toxicity of pure cancel culture, callout culture is still pervasive; accounts like DeuxMoi's only add fuel to that fire. 

Then again, maybe it’s exactly that careful balance of entertainment and accountability presented by DeuxMoi that makes it so engrossing, walking the line between too–far and not–far–enough. In a Gen Z–ruled social media landscape, it’s no wonder accounts like these are growing in popularity over the tried–and–true celebrity culture sources like Entertainment Tonight and TMZ. Young people aren’t interested in “Who Wore It Best” or unflattering paparazzi photos; we want to know who’s polite to flight attendants and who tips poorly at coffee shops. 

There’s something fascinating about the mundane lives of celebrities, and DeuxMoi manages to deliver juicy insight without treading into the typical tabloid snark and insensitivity that Gen Z has grown to reject. DeuxMoi is celebrity gossip for a cynical generation of people who see the ethical ambiguities of rumors and celebrity voyeurism, but can’t help but be captivated by the inner lives of celebrities; Deux Moi has captured that nuanced intrigue in a way that simply can’t be attained by conventional gossip media.

Of course, in the age of sponsorships and monetized media, content like DeuxMoi's Instagram stories can’t stay free forever. As the classic print tabloids are fading into irrelevance, DeuxMoi is in the process of monetizing with “DeuxMoi Premium” for additional and more exclusive content for pay. Will blind items from Instagram stories be revealed? Will the premium information be fact–checked? Will the content still be crowdsourced? Does it really matter? Hard to say—DeuxMoi is pretty elusive. But isn’t that part of the allure? 


Comments

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.