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Instagram purges fake followers, likes, and comments generated from other apps


Instagram accounts bloated with fake likes and follows using third-party apps are about to be deflated. On Monday, November 19, Instagram shared that a machine learning update will be purging the platform of the inauthentic likes, follows, and comments created through third-party programs.

Instagram says that a new machine learning tool is now identifying accounts that used third-party apps to artificially boost their follower count as well as posting interactions. The inauthentic activity, Instagram says, will then be removed from the account. Since giving out the username and password to these types of apps can pose security risks, Instagram is also asking these users to go through a password reset.

Using an app to gain fake followers and interactions are already against Instagram’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Use — what’s changing is that Instagram now has the ability to recognize which accounts are using the apps and which followers and interactions were generated from that app. Instagram already works to remove fake accounts, and today’s announcement expands its efforts to remove fake follows, likes, and comments. While the followers may be fake, comments and likes can help boost a post farther up in the algorithms to be viewed by more real people, making automated third-party apps popular.

“Every day people come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions. It is our responsibility to ensure these experiences aren’t disrupted by inauthentic activity,” Instagram wrote in a blog post.

Users affected by the fake purge will see an in-app notification, along with a shortcut to change the account password to lock the third party app out of the account. Other users, Instagram says, may have unknowingly given out login information to a third-party app. These users will also be notified, and Instagram suggests they change their passwords.

Like other social networks, Instagram users often complain about bots and spam. Today’s change comes after Instagram locked out several bot platforms last year that automated different interactions, including Instagress and Mass Planner.

Instagram isn’t done with the fakes purge either — the company calls today’s announcement “just another step.” The platform says additional updates will be rolling out over the next few weeks that also focus on “tackling inauthentic activity.”

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