Instagram Is Going After Inauthentic Likes, Follows and Comments From Third-Party Apps

Account holders will be instructed to change their passwords

Changing passwords will prevent third-party apps from using login credentials Instagram

Instagram is going after inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party applications to try to boost their engagement and follower counts.

The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network said it is using machine learning tools to identify accounts that are using those apps and services and to remove the inauthentic activity.

Those accounts will receive messages within the Instagram app informing them that the inauthentic likes, follows and comments they have left on other accounts were removed.

They will also be asked to secure their accounts by changing their passwords, in order to prevent third-party apps from using their login credentials.

Instagram said further updates on efforts to curb inauthentic activity will arrive in the coming weeks.

Unilever chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed, who lashed out earlier this year at influencers who buy fake followers, applauded the move.

Weed said, “Unilever has made clear commitments to clean up influencer marketing and rebuild trust in the digital ecosystem. Dishonest practices like buying fake followers or fake engagement from bots pollute the entire system. We should all be encouraged by these steps from Instagram to identify and address this type of activity. Instagram is one of the most popular social networks worldwide, and I very much support it taking action and removing inauthentic activity from its platform. It’s another positive step on the journey to build trust back into our digital ecosystems and wider society.”

Instagram said in a blog post, “People who use these types of apps share their username and password, and their accounts are sometimes used by third-party apps for inauthentic likes, follows and comments. Not only does this introduce bad behavior into the Instagram community, it also makes these accounts less secure. We also know some people may have unknowingly shared their login credentials with a third-party app … These new measures will be ongoing, and accounts that continue to use third-party apps to grow their audience may see their Instagram experience impacted.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.