Instagram is hands down my favourite social media platform. Beautiful images, clean lines, easy formatting … what’s not to like about Instagram right? Well … there is just one thing that concerns me as a social media content creator. Fakeness.
We all see them on our feeds – the like or comment you know has been created by a bot.
Nothing annoys me more than seeing a 👏👏 or 👍 in place of real engagement from followers. And then there is the social media manager’s biggest bugbear – fake followers.
So, I was immensely excited to read that Instagram will be cracking down on this phenomenon.
In its announcement on November 19, Instagram informed us it will be removing fake followers, likes, and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to puff up their popularity.
The platform has built machine learning tools to help identify accounts that use these apps and remove the inauthentic activity. Accounts using third-party apps to generate what Instagram’s Community Guidelines deem inauthentic activity, will receive an in-app message letting them know the activity has been removed. These accounts will also be required to change their password because it may have been shared with the app.
The platform may also ask users who inadvertently shared their login information with an app may to change their password.
And if you choose to continue using third-party apps to inflate your popularity, the company says your Instagram experience will be impacted. How this will play out is not clear. But whatever the action, I am pretty sure your reach will be affected.
What I particularly like about this new policy is that it’s not just a once-off action. Purging fake followers and engagement will be an ongoing activity.
And Instagram isn’t stopping there … more announcements are expecting in the weeks to come.
Fake follower and like services are a scourge that bedevils all social media platforms. Many see high numbers of followers as a status symbol and indicator of popularity. And given that many influencers, as well as PR companies, value high numbers, the cycle is vicious and endless.
In a world where quantity is valued over quality, it’s pretty easy to find a service that can provide this “bulk” – just search “buy Instagram followers”. But as these services are exposed and shut down, so too do new services spring up – with new ways of evading detection. And this worries everyone. So, for me, it’s good that this is going to be an ongoing process for Instagram. It has to be if the company is serious about keeping fakeness from flourishing in new ways.
And what is heartening as that Instagram isn’t the only social media platform that is making a concerted effort to tackle the scourge of fakeness. Twitter is removing fake accounts more than it’s ever done before. And LinkedIn is actively removing spam and junk content.
What this means for us as users and social media marketers is that we will have to turn back to good old-fashioned quality content and a bit of elbow grease. As social media platforms are facing a deluge of fakeness, it is encouraging to note that Instagram is constantly striving to continue encouraging and fostering authenticity. I welcome the changes.
- Read more of my thoughts on social media here.