The Instagram update has been welcomed by the industry with open arms, it has detailed plans to clamp down on all third-party apps that help creators attain “inauthentic” followers and engagements (likes, comments). Instagram has claimed that these new measures will be ongoing and those who continue to use third-party apps to grow their audience may see their Instagram experience impacted.
In a bid to combat #InstaFraud, Instagram will start removing any likes, follows, or comments from accounts that have used services to boost their popularity. To aid its crackdown, it has built a machine learning tool that identifies this kind of behaviour and the accounts associated with it.
Up until now, there hasn’t been enough pressure on Instagram to regulate accounts using fake followers and engagement — this responsibility has been placed on brands, agencies, and the influencers themselves, as well as on audiences to spot. The influencer industry has been calling out for platform improvements of this sort for a long time.
The authenticity of influencers has been a hot topic of conversation in recent months. Instagram understands that compensation for creative content is ultimately beneficial to the platform, but only for as long as it doesn’t incentivize behaviour that is detrimental to its other goals: a positive user experience. The fact that brands are basing their fee structure on engagement and view statistics is quite possibly a contributor to the dodgy inflation of stats as it entices some influencers to buy or game engagement to negotiate higher rewards, assuming they won’t be caught in the act. It’s not lost on Instagram that their fight against fake metrics benefits the buyer side of sponsored content. Perhaps this can be seen as an admission that it’s in their interest to sustain the flow of deals to their core contributors by contributing clarity and transparency to the metrics being evaluated.