File this under “When Doing the Most Goes Wrong”: Some of your Insta-faves may be revealed to be a little less popular than you thought, as Instagram seeks to restore trust and integrity to its platform by banning paid-for likes and followers.
This move follows similar measures taken on Twitter and Facebook (the latter of which owns Instagram), following valid questions about the true followings of some users (like the tweeter-in-chief, Donald Trump).
In a statement on its website titled “Reducing Inauthenticity on Instagram,” the social media site wrote on Monday:
Recently, we’ve seen accounts use third-party apps to artificially grow their audience. Every day people come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions. It is our responsibility to ensure these experiences aren’t disrupted by inauthentic activity. Starting today, we will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity. We’ve built machine learning tools to help identify accounts that use these services and remove the inauthentic activity.
Recently? Umm...OK, we guess. To be fair, Instagram has technically always had this policy, removing fake accounts as needed. Monday’s announcement marks the first time that it is proactively seeking to monitor the integrity of the platform. Ideally, these new measures will ensure that activity is organic and attention is earned—in addition to cutting down on unwanted influence that might, oh, I don’t know, sway product sales—or elections?
We’ll see if these new “machine learning tools” are successful, but as they attempt to suss out the real from the...well, unreal, it should at least be entertaining to watch. In fact, IG is making it hilariously easy to contrast and compare. While “likes” on old posts won’t be retroactively removed, new posts will only reflect real followers, making it embarrassingly easy to identify which users were working with a purchased fanbase.
That might be worth a scroll, in and of itself.