Instagram is taking its first major step to kill fake followers and automated apps used to leave spammy comments on its platform. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform has announced that it is removing inauthentic follows, likes and comments violating its policies from accounts of people who use these fraudulent apps. Also Read - Instagram critical bug fixed by Facebook, could allow hackers to turn your phone into a spying toolAlso Read - FarmVille to be shut down this year; will still be playable until December 31
The move serves as a warning to accounts that keep using apps to get fake likes and followers on Instagram. The app is also asking these users to change their password and cut ties with such apps and notes that people who continue to use these apps “may see their Instagram experience impacted.” It also plans to limit access to certain features in order to further penalize those who continue to use such apps to increase their followers count and get likes on their posts. Also Read - Apple to stop charging App Store fees from Facebook till 31 December
Apart from taking action against use of apps that generate likes, Instagram is trying to discourage users from sharing their login details with another company, since this can lead them to being hacked or have their account used to spam others. If you see decline in your Instagram follower count then it could be because the followers were fake and not that the profile offends other users.
Instagram and its parent Facebook have not been immune to bad actors trying to spread misinformation and send falsified information through these platforms. It claims to have removed 754 million fake accounts in the past quarter alone, and stopping spam apps from accessing client information.
While Instagram has been taking down fake accounts since 2014, this is the first time that the company has revealed publicly removing fake likes from posts of its users. “We’ve built machine learning tools to help identify accounts that use [third-party apps for boosting followers] and remove the inauthentic activity,” it said.
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According to TechCrunch, popular bot apps for growing Instagram followers like Instagress and Social Growth have shut down but others like Archie, InstarocketProX and Boostio, continue to offer this service for anywhere between $10 and $45 a month. In order to use these services, Instagram users will have to provide their username and password to these services.
Those using spam app will now be alerted by Instagram with an in-app message alerting them “that we have removed the inauthentic likes, follows and comments given by their account to others.” This action is being taken after users and influencers started using follower count as a metric to potential businesses and they tend to reflect credibility. If those counts are not authentic then Instagram’s own legitimacy comes under question.