Instagram has evolved into a huge marketing tool for many businesses. As the platform has grown in popularity, so has the desire for influencers to grow their following. However, many people have resorted to using bots and automated apps to “inauthentically” boost their audience numbers. By giving one’s login details and setting preset hashtags, these automated apps are then enabled give out free likes and comments.
Now, Instagram is cracking down. They’ve recently initiated a policy that targets fake followers and likes.
“Recently, we’ve seen accounts use third-party apps to artificially grow their audience”, Instagram states on their info page. “Starting today, we will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity. We’ve built machine learning tools to help identify accounts that use these services and remove the inauthentic activity.”
Accounts who are suspected of using automated apps will be sent the following warning:
Several celebrities have even resorted to using bots to maintain their following. Businesses, on the other hand, will resort to using them to get their accounts off the ground.
The value of having a popular Instagram account is clearly visible with several people paying a monthly subscription fee to use an app’s services. Bot apps such as InstarocketProX, Boostio, and Jarvee charge between $10 to $70 a month to offer actions such as commenting, sending DMs, following and of course, liking. According to Instagram, even ads for these services are in violation of their policy.
Instagram hopes to improve their credibility by targeting engagement manipulation. Similar actions to increase organic interactions amongst its users was seen earlier this year when Facebook announced that it would prioritize posts from family and friends over public posts from brands and businesses. Like Facebook, this is another step in Instagram’s goal to preserve their vibrant community and promote organic interaction.