Spam Accounts Continue to be a Problem for Instagram

Instagram has about a billion active users at any given point in time, and out of these billion or so accounts about 150 million are fake accounts. Now, these fake accounts are made for a wide variety of reasons but for the most part it is important to realize that many of them have been created for the purposes of spreading spam, and this is starting to become a real issue for Instagram.

One of the biggest ways in which spam accounts create a problem for Instagram can be seen on the comments section of any major social media influencer and celebrity. For example, if you go to the Instagram profile of Kim Kardashian and see any of her recent posts, you will probably see a lot of comments on her posts that are sexually suggestive in nature, with many of these comments enticing users to check out their Instagram stories for more NSFW content.

These comments are not being made by actual users, but are rather being made by spam accounts that are informally referred to as “porn bots”. The main purpose of these bots is to get users to sign up to pornographic websites that are highly suspect in a lot of ways, and are more likely than not scams themselves to a large degree.

The fact that fifteen percent of all accounts on Instagram are spam, should tell you how serious the problem truly is, and a lot of influencers have been complaining about these bots and the fact that they are really bringing down the quality of their comment sections. Chrissy Teigen is just one of the many influencers that has gone to social media to talk about what a serious problem this is starting to become.

The fake accounts have some pretty clever ways of evading the various techniques put in place by Instagram to try to moderate comment sections on the platform. For example, Instagram lets you filter out comments with certain keywords or phrases in them. This feature is offered in order to allow people the chance to make sure that their comments section is free from words that they would not want being used there.


Hence, if you do not want sexually suggestive comments being left on your posts, you would probably add a keyword like “masturbation” to your list so that comments containing that word would be screened out. However, the bots that are leaving these comments are quite well designed, so they would put spaces between the letters of any outright suggestive words so that the filters are not able to pick that word up.

The bots are also designed to keep checking major profiles for new posts so that whenever a celebrity or influencer makes a new post, the bot or fake account would leave a comment on it right away. Multiple bots often leave multiple comments, and further fake accounts are used to like the comment so that it gets to the top of the comment section when you sort it in that manner.

This is a real issue that both Instagram as well as its parent company Facebook need to start addressing so that it doesn’t end up compromising the social media experience for the various people that are using these platforms for a wide variety of purposes.


Photo: Bloomberg / Getty Images

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