Instagram is finally doing something to crack down on fake likes and followers.
The app will begin to remove follows, likes, and comments that are the result of shady third-party apps. Instagram will also prompt password resets in an effort to prevent continued use of the apps. And, if Instagrammers keep using these services, the app will punish users by limiting their use of certain features.
The apps in question are third-party services that use your Instagram credentials to help boost your account by rewarding you with likes, comments, and followers. If you’re active on Instagram, you’ve probably encountered activity from some of these services, even if you don’t directly use them yourself. (Telltale signs include when random accounts like several of your old photos all at once, often with generic comments like “nice.”)
The problem with these apps, according to Instagram, is not just that they game the system to create fake engagement, but that they’re often shady and exploit the log-in information provided by users.
In order to root these apps out of Instagram, the company will begin to prompt password resets for people who have used these services in the past. And it will start to remove followers, likes, and comments that were generated as the result of these services. (Importantly, Instagram says the change will kick in beginning Monday, so previous likes and follows will not be impacted, even if they were the result of one of the apps in question.)
What’s more, if people continue to use these services, they may see more serious account repercussions. According to a spokesperson, Instagram “may limit access to certain features,” if they identify repeat offenders. The spokesperson didn’t elaborate on what specific features could be impacted.
But given how serious a problem Instagram hackings have been in the past, the ramp-up in enforcement should be welcome news to those concerned about account security.