Love Island fans want ITV to continue their new social media rule. Since Love Island debuted, the reality show has offered fans premium entertainment and drama as they watch contestants vie for the perfect partner. However, like most reality shows, contestants also gain fame and notoriety by appearing on Love Island. One of the ways this reflects is on social media, where Islanders often get thousands of followers by the time they get off the series.
However, for the second-ever Winter Edition of Love Island, ITV rolled out a couple of changes before the series premiered in January 2023, including a new shooting location in Cape Town, South Africa. The show also replaced the blonde host, Laura Whitmore, with former Radio 1 presenter Maya Jama, who thrilled fans with her fashion sense and presenter chops.
Still, one of the changes that got the most attention was announcing a new social media rule. According to the BBC, the rule stated that unlike in previous series, where friends and families of the contestants automatically took over their social media accounts, all social media activities of the Islanders should pause upon them entering the villa. Fans often took to the social media pages of their favorites Islanders to pour out their feelings, whether appealing or not. This meant whoever handled the contestant’s page was vulnerable to vile remarks, subtle criticism, or a show of intense love.
Often, it has resulted in an emotional rollercoaster with the social media handlers reaching out to fans to tone down their outrageous remarks. Nonetheless, the showrunners have proven that they are not oblivious to how much this backlash affects the contestants when they eventually see it. However, after the rules’ first effect, dedicated Love Island fans have noted their opinions about it.
Fans Think The Rule Protects Islander’s Mental Health
Meanwhile, many fans want ITV to tick with the social media rule noting how social media has affected past Islanders. One commenter mentioned that people often post hateful messages while watching their favorites, adding that positive messages are only shared when the hopefuls are out of the game.
Another fan, u/gogo007, reiterated this bias citing that families of previous series have had to come together to beg the critics after receiving offensive messages and death threats. The fan talked about how alum Tasha Ghouri’s dad had to explain to trolls that his daughter’s deafness caused her to be emotional after some fans objected to her showing emotions. According to the Reddit user:
“Luca’s sister was making lengthy stories trying to justify his actions and talked about how she’s keeping an excel spreadsheet with all that have wronged him. Paige’s friend had to delete her Twitter account, turn off comments on IG, and went on many sm breaks because the hate from Jacques stans, and then the hate that Coco and Summer got directed at her socials was overwhelming and relentless. It was a whole mess last season, so I am glad that’s not happening now.”
Fans Think The Rule Detracts Fame-Driven Contestants
On Reddit, fans debated the pro and cons of the social media rule after watching its effect during Winter Love Island 2023. One of the things fans felt the rule enacted was that it helped in weeding out the contestants who were in the show for fame. According to some fans, failure to interact with the outside world by extension of their family or friends posting online has given viewers more authentic and entertaining contestants.
A commenter, u/ livinvixen, gave the nod to the poster’s remarks, claiming hopefuls not only show their true colors but are honest with each other, forming ” a more wholesome connection.” However, another fan, u/Violetbenson1, opined that although the rule will detract fame-driven contestants, it will also hinder the Islanders who are there for genuine connections from growing their social media accounts. The fan stated,
“It brings less buzz to the show and better understanding of who the people are. Plus these people go through a full-on mental experiment for two months while being watched and coming out to loads of hate… the minimum they should get, is a rise in their social media so they can have some new opportunities waiting for them on the outside for putting up with that.”
The fan emphasized that social media influencing can be a powerful tool, as influencers have the upper hand with brands compared to people who submit their applications.
Love Island Producers Prioritize Islanders’ Mental Health and Well-being
Following the untimely deaths of two Love Island alums, Mike Thalassitis, and Sophie Gradon, there were measures to help guard the hopefuls’ mental health. In 2019, ITV bosses implemented a new rule after the contestants’ journey on the show ended. It involved a new journey to stabilizing their mental health by providing eight therapy sessions. Faye Winter, who emerged winner alongside Teddy Soares, confirmed that their mental health was often prioritized even in the villa.
After the social media ban announcement, Psychologist Jo Hemmings, a seasoned psychologist, gave the nod claiming it was an excellent move to help the contestants and their families. Meanwhile, before the just-concluded Winter Love Island 2023 premiered, the cast members gave their opinion about the rule. Tanya Manhenga confessed to harboring skepticism at first about the social media rule, but she understood the ban was for the best. She noted,
“Obviously, you can’t stop trolls or anything like that, but if it’s gonna reduce the amount of abuse that you could potentially get or trolls that you can get, then I’m all for it. I wouldn’t be against it.”
Nonetheless, the Love Island alum has received countless vile comments on social media during her run on the show. Thankfully, the social media rule has somehow reduced some of the effects. Meanwhile, her co-star Lana Jenkins echoed Tanya’s sentiments, praising the producers for establishing the pause rule. Shaq Muhammad, who ended up being her partner, said similar words, alleging he understood their reason. Still, after watching its implementation in the just-concluded season, the social media rule has curbed much fan abuse. Hopefully, this will make the medium safer for Islanders.