Instagram announced this week, it is making efforts to stop users from employing third-party applications to boost their following.

- Instagram

It’s hard to remember a time without Instagram! Since 2010, this social media platform has flourished into one of the fastest growing social media platforms with around 700 million active users across the world.

Instagram is about bringing people together through the medium of sharing photos, but some users use their credit cards to boost their following. However, as of this week, Instagram is officially cracking down on “fake likes” (Donald Trump Voice), comments, and other forms of engagement from third-party apps which users use to boost their popularity.

Instagram announced at the start of the week that it has “built machine learning tools” which enables the platform to detect accounts that grow artificially by preventing the action from being carried out again in the future. Accounts which are identified as using these third-party apps will be messaged in-app by Instagram alerting them that Instagram has “removed the inauthentic likes, follows and comments given by their account to others”. The message will also ask users to “change their password” which was likely shared on the third-party site utilised for gaining followers and interactions.

There hasn’t been an official list of websites released that Instagram has identified as third-party services, but it is easy to find these services online.

Why is there a crackdown?

You might be wondering why people would pay for likes and followers. Well influencers with larger followings in particular can charge high prices for promoting products and services so this quick win for building a following could be very tempting. There’s also  the psychological factor to consider as it’s generally a given that the more followers you have, the more legitimate you look to those who may want to follow you.

Instagram is joining the likes of Twitter and Facebook who are also cracking down on bots and inauthentic activities. Some people might consider this to be a bit unnecessary wondering what harm a few extra likes and followers can do. In 2016 however, it was reported that foreign actors were used to try and change public opinion in the lead up to the U.S. Election. There’s also the argument that the inauthentic activity diminishes the site and the accounts that have grown organically by posting relevant, interesting content.

What will happen if you continue to use third-party apps?

Accounts that continue to use these services to perceive popularity may see their experience limited and impacted, our guess is activity will be limited and possibly suspended as this in violation of Instagram’s community guidelines. In August of this year, Instagram introduced an “About this Account” feature for large follower accounts which gives greater transparency on the platform.

This will be an ongoing effort from Instagram and not just a one-time purge. If you’d like to know more about the recent changes to Instagram and whether it will affect your account there are tonnes of resources online, and of course, you can always speak to one of the social media team at Netbiz. As always we firmly believe that in order to get the most of out of the social media platform, the key is to continue sharing unique and engaging content which is tailored to your target audience whilst also working on building strong relationships.

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