Instagram has a few less fake comments today after the social media platform shut down Instagress, an automated Instagram bot, by request earlier this week.
Liking and commenting on other images is a popular way to both attempt to gain new followers and drive up interaction on Instagram, and with Instagress, the platform automatically liked and commented on photos across the platform in hopes of doing just that. For users of the platform, Instagress was a convenient way of marketing on Instagram without actually putting in the time required to like and comment on individual posts. For actual human Instagrammers, the bots led to faked generic comments on their posts.
Now, visitors to the Instagress website are welcomed instead by a closure notice. “By request of Instagram we were forced to close our web service that helped you so much in your Instagram journey,” the website now reads.
Instagram shared plans for eliminating fake accounts back in 2014, but a year later, one research report suggested that as many as eight percent of accounts were run by bots. That same year, new spam filters and the deletion of 18 million suspected fake accounts made buying Instagram followers a bit harder.
Instagress is just one of several of its kind, designed to automate Instagram activity to expand reach, essentially allowing users to buy followers. The Instagress platform used to cost users $10 a month, while other services like Rantic sell likes, comments, and followers for flat-rate bundles. The botting problem isn’t one that influences Instagram alone, either — Retweets, Facebook followers, and YouTube views, just to name a few, can be bought as well.
Instagress is allowing users to log in to request refunds, which the bot company says will be issued on a first-in-first-out basis.
Instagram hasn’t commented on the closure, but the platform’s developer policy prohibits “any ‘like,’ ‘share,’ ‘comment’ or ‘follower’ exchange program” as well as “unauthorized commercial communication or spam.”