Take Off the Mask, Bozo!

“Faceless” content creators begin to reveal their identities.


For the past several years, there has been an uptick in the number of “faceless” online content creators. Some of the most popular examples are streamers like Dream and Corpsehusband, with 31.1 million and 7.61 million subscribers, respectively. The immense popularity of anonymous personas like these cause some to wonder, “why do so many people like this type of content?”

“Unidentified figures…are inherently intriguing to people,” said psychologist Perpetua Neo in an article for Insider magazine. 

Neo gives the Wizard of Oz and Big Brother as examples of characters that commanded a great deal of attention in their stories because of their anonymity. 

In fact, anonymous content creators can function much like fictional characters because of their “one on one” content. This type of content allows for a closer connnection between fans and the content creator, as social media and livestreams allow them to interact with each other. 

Parasocial relationships,” author Lindsay Dodgson wrote for Insider. “[Are] more intense than people used to have with traditional celebrities, who were always considered far out-of-reach.”

With this close of a connection, fans can relate to the content creator on a more personal level and aren’t constantly comparing themselves to a perfectly-curated public image. 

“There is no vanity competition–just their personality,” Dodgson wrote.

“Just their personality” is important because it shows that the content being made is what is making these people famous, even though they don’t show their face. 

In a time where so many people are “famous for being famous,” fans may be searching for “real meaning behind the fame,” Neo said.

In addition to enjoying the influencer’s content and relating on a personal level, fans can imagine what the “faceless” person will look like, and that they might even look similar to the fan. 

Fans can imagine themselves as players in the game or “imagine the ‘perfect’ persona of the character,” video game psychologist Berni Good said. 

Even if fans have a false idea of what the influencer looks like, this should not affect how they feel about the content.

Dodgson wrote that “judging by the love of their fans…their real faces, should they ever show them, are probably far less important than they believe.” 

However, this article was written in March of 2021, and some things have changed. 

On Oct. 2, 2022, Dream posted an immediately-viral face reveal on YouTube. Many dedicated fans were excited to see their favorite influencer’s face. 

According to an article by Moises Mendez in TIME magazine, “#DreamFaceReveal became the no. 1 trending topic in the United States on Twitter.”

There were also many who were disappointed by the face reveal and did not hesitate to share their thoughts online. 

“‘He’s Ugly’ and ‘#PutTheMaskBackOn’ [were trending] alongside the more neutral hashtag following his post,” Mendez wrote.

Many of the negative reactions were not by previous fans of Dream, but this is an example of influencers not being able to meet expectations set for them after years of anonymity. 

Corpsehusband has previously said that he would not reveal his face because he could “never live up to the expectations his fans have set for him,” Dodgson wrote.

Dream’s face reveal can mean multiple things going forward, both for him and his anonymous peers

“He has more opportunities now to be a creator in every sense of the word,” Mendez wrote. 

However, the immediate negative response to his face reveal may discourage other “faceless” celebrities from sharing their true selves with the internet. 

“Only time will tell,” Mendez wrote. “If assigning a face to the creator outweighs the allure of mystery he cultivated up until now.”