Influencer Danae Mercer posts photos showing how lighting and angles can change the appearance of her body.
She told Insider fad diet companies regularly steal her photos to promote weight loss products.
Mercer advises people to be cautious of what they see and buy online.
Influencer Danae Mercer regularly posts photos showing how her body looks differently in varied angles, lighting, and poses.
Mercer's posts are designed to educate her 2.3 million followers about how social media warps perceptions of beauty, however, Mercer told Insider that weight loss companies regularly steal her photos to sell their products - sometimes pretending they are "before" and "after" shots.
Brands use Mercer's images without her permission to promote weight loss and diet products
Mercer encourages her followers to accept their bodies as they are, so when brands use her pictures to sell weight loss products, she's infuriated.
"It's so frustrating, when my message is the opposite," Mercer said.
"I'm saying, 'Don't trust dodgy diet brands, here's how they fake transformations,' and these brands then steal those images, cut out my caption or words, and use it to sell dodgy diet products."
Mercer, who is based in Italy, sometimes finds the stolen posts herself, but some are sent to her by her followers.
"For a while, a 'magic wand' cellulite removal product was using one of my pics in a boosted, paid campaign across Facebook targeting Italy, so a lot of my Italian community kept sending it to me," she said.
Mercer has also seen her pictures used to promote stretch mark removal creams, anti-cellulite wands and gadgets, keto diets, smoothie diets, anti-cellulite soaps, and more.
Her main grievance with the way her images are used is that it's "dishonest," she said.
"To take my pic showing how sunlight changes your cellulite in pictures, and then say that wait, no, their product is what changed my cellulite for good, that's just absurd to me. It sells a lie to others," Mercer said.
Mercer has struggled to get the stolen photos removed from Instagram
Mercer doesn't know how to stop people from stealing her posts. She said she's tried to watermark her photos, but the companies just cover it up with their own branding.
"Apparently I can pursue it with copyright action, but some of these companies are layers upon layers of dodgy, so it's almost impossible to know who to prosecute," she said.
Recently, Mercer shared the name of an account which had stolen her photos to sell smoothie diets, and asked her followers to report it (the account had blocked her).
Hundreds of people told Mercer they'd reported it, she said, but the post is still there.
Instagram did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Mercer is using her experience to remind people to be wary of products advertised on social media.
"Things like this happen so often, and it's horrible," she said. "So much of my page is about dodgy diet companies, educating around fake brands, all of that. The fact they're stealing my stuff just further proves the point."
Read the original article on Insider