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Instagram fights fake followers

Photo-sharing social media app Instagram is taking steps to fight fake engagement on its platform.

Instagram will remove likes, follows and comments “bought” by accounts that use third-party apps to boost their engagement and artificially grow their follower counts, starting 19 November.

The app, which has developed machine learning to recognise which of its users are buying likes, will also force users to change their passwords to prevent access from third-party apps.

In a blog post, Instagram said: “[This] update is just another step in keeping Instagram a vibrant community where people connect and share in authentic ways. 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.”

Health, food and beauty powerhouse Unilever has already taken a stand against influencers who use third-party apps to grow their followings. The conglomerate called for greater clarity and urgent action to tackle “influencer fraud” in June this year.

Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever, 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.”

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