Instagram will soon start cracking down on accounts that use third-party apps to dole out fake likes and followers

Instagram
  • Instagram is cracking down on accounts that use third-party apps to dole out fake likes and follows, the company announced Monday.
  • Using machine learning tools, the photo-sharing platform will remove “inauthentic” likes, which are generated by third-party platforms designed to boost audience growth for users.
  • Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, has also worked to take down accounts and pages that have been linked to “inauthentic behaviour.”

Influencers and brands who use bot apps to boost their popularity and increase audience growth may be in trouble, thanks to a new initiative Instagram announced Monday.

In a blog post, Instagram said it would start removing fake likes, follows, and comments using “machine learning tools” it had built. The initiative is targeting “inauthentic activity” from third-party apps designed to boost popularity and audience on the platform, Instagram says.

“This type of behaviour is bad for the community, and third-party apps that generate inauthentic likes, follows and comments violate our Community Guidelines and Terms of Use,” the blog post says. “Today’s update is just another step in keeping Instagram a vibrant community where people connect and share in authentic ways.”

Third-party apps are often used by influencers and brands who are trying to get more followers and boost their popularity. Users can pay for these apps to generate an abundance of activity for their accounts and hopefully increase their audience.

Accounts that have been identified as users of such third-party apps will receive messages from Instagram that notify them their fake activity has been removed, Instagram said. Instagram will also require such accounts to change their passwords, since third-party apps are given access to users’ passwords and sensitive account info when they pay for these services.

Instagram has attempted to fight such actions of third-party services in the past. Back in August, Instagram rolled out an “About This Account” feature in an effort to let users themselves evaluate the authenticity of other accounts.Instagram shut down a popular third-party app last year called Instagress, however, numerous audience-boosting providers still exist, including Archie, InstarocketProX, and Boostio.


Read more:
Here are some of the posts that Facebook says were part of a coordinated misinformation campaign ahead of American elections

While this initiative targeting “inauthentic activity” is Instagram-specific, the platform’s parent company, Facebook, has led several efforts to target “inauthentic behaviour,” including a misinformation “war room” ahead of midterm elections. This has included taking down accounts and profiles from both Facebook and Instagram stemming from Iran and Russia for disseminating fake political news.

Instagram also said Monday that this wasn’t the only action it was taking to fight inauthenticity on the platform, and that it would reveal “additional measures” in the coming weeks.

The blog post warns that users who continue to use third-party apps “may see their Instagram experience impacted.”

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.