Instagram purges fake followers and threatens to take action against users
It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that some Instagram users get massive followings on the Facebook-owned service through the use of trickery that includes everything from following and then unfollowing others — after they got a follow back — and through the use of third-party apps that promote inauthentic likes, follows and comments.
You may see Instagram follow accounts start to drop in the coming days, and this is why. According to a company blog post, Instagram is trying to do something about the use of third-party apps that ‘grammers use to help artificially grow their audience.
“Every day, people come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions,” the company notes. “It is our responsibility to ensure these experiences aren’t disrupted by inauthentic activity. Starting today, we will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity.
The post goes on to walk through some of the steps being taken. For one, accounts that Instagram IDs as using these kinds of services will get an in-app message alerting the user that Instagram has removed inauthentic likes, follows and comments from the account. That user will also be asked to secure their account by changing their password.
Such measures, the post continues, will be ongoing. There’s also a vague warning that accounts which continue to use third-party apps to grow their audience in this manner “may see their Instagram experience impacted.”
Facebook at large, of course, has been hampered by a slew of bad news lately, with the company’s ham-fisted response to inauthentic activity across its family of apps increasingly coming under scrutiny. Instagram, for its part, says it will be ramping up its efforts along these lines even more so than what it included in the announcement today.
Also from the company’s post: “Since the early days of Instagram, we have auto-detected and removed fake accounts to protect our community. Today’s update is just another step in keeping Instagram a vibrant community where people connect and share in authentic ways. We’ll have more updates in the coming weeks on additional measures we’re taking to tackle inauthentic activity on Instagram.”