Four more programs bite the dust in Instagram's quiet battle against the bots

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Panithan Fakseemuang / 123RF
Instagram is engaging in an epic battle of the bots — but instead of a clash of steel, this fight is quietly pitting social media against non-human interactions. After shutting down the bot platform Instagress last month, the popular photo-focused social media platform has now shut down Mass Planner, a similar automated service, along with three others.

On May 12, the organizers of Mass Planner announced that they have been forced to close down the service, at Instagram’s request. Unlike Instagress, Mass Planner was a bot service that crossed social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. The platform automated interactions, including likes, comments, follows, and direct messaging, through software.

Many Instagram users are celebrating the platform’s work to cut down interactions that aren’t from actual people — which often come in the form of generic comments (which tend to appear out of place on the occasional posts on sad subjects) and likes from accounts that aren’t actually people. On the opposite end, others are wondering if Instagram is really just hoping to push organic content — or is pushing business users to spend their money on Instagram advertising instead of a bot service.

Along with Mass Planner, PeerBoost, InstaPlus, and FanHarvest, all bot programs, were also shut down at Instagram’s request last week.

Instagram reached 700 million users in late April, reporting that the last 100 million users also joined at a much faster rate than the platform has ever experienced before. The Facebook-owned company is cracking down on the practice of botting, or using software and fake accounts to drive up interaction.

Instagram’s Terms of Use prohibits the use of bots, scripts, and other automated devices, but that hasn’t stopped botting services from popping up to attempt to help users get through the algorithms to get their posts in front of a larger audience. While other platforms including Facebook and Twitter allow businesses and public profiles to schedule posts, Instagram, in keeping with the “Insta” in their name, doesn’t allow users to pick a time to publish.

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