The Instagram Scandal

The Instagram Scandal

Seeing as every blogger and their Mum is discussing this issue over on Twitter, I thought I would write a post about it. I rarely write live posts so this may be a little bit rambly, apologies for that. And I have already published a post today but hey-ho.  So, if you’re not sure what the hell is going on, it has been discovered that several larger bloggers and Youtubers have been using bots to follow, unfollow and like on Instagram and other forms of social media. This also includes purchasing likes and followers. I’ve decided to share my two cents on this discussion and would love to hear your thoughts!

HOW DO YOU KNOW?

A website called Social Blade provides graphs and stats on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and Twitch users. These graphs show how many followers someone has gained and how many people they’re following as well as unfollowing.

Here’s mine:

More detail here:

So my graphs shows that I had a slight dip in followers. And I will explain why shortly. It also shows I followed and unfollowed about 2-5 people every few days. No real biggie.

Now, if we take a look at a certain male blogger who is paid to visit lovely lands:

Yikes… So this shows that he clearly uses a bot to follow and unfollow other accounts to gain attention thus gaining followers. Here are the actual figures:

No one unfollows 551 people and then follows 865. That’s just madness.

So that’s the lowdown on what is happening and why so many are freaking out over on Twitter.

CONFESSION TIME

I’ve hinted that I am not an entirely innocent party to this Instagram fakery. But it’s time to put it straight out there.

Let’s get this out of the way and then I’ll explain:

  1. I have bought followers in the past.
  2. I used shitty apps to promote myself.
  3. Instagram removed most of the shit followers during a cull, which I was thankful for.
  4. I’ve used apps to remove bots, fake accounts and inactive followers.
  5. Tumblr (50k+ followers) has been my main way to promote my Instagram organically.
  6. I have used bots to like posts under a certain hashtag.

Let’s discuss:

  1. When I first started my Instagram as a Marilyn Monroe account, I bought about 500 followers. And it made my account look popular and more people followed. I then made it into a personal account and lots of my followers decided they wanted Marilyn (fair enough) so left me with fewer followers. So, I bought another 500. Ew. My following grew and I thought nothing of it after that.
  2. There are apps you can download which promote you and increase your followers. Most of the people don’t even exist and are bots. I used them and my god what a waste of time that was.
  3. Then Instagram had a cull and removed HUNDREDS of fake followers including inactive ones. I was actually pretty grateful as I felt such guilt for buying them all that time ago.
  4. I then found an app, called Cleaner for Insta to have a spring clean. And this is when my first graph comes into play. I went from almost 12k to about 11.8k. And when it dipped that much I had to stop the app from running. I knew there was more but I felt like I was going to end up with nothing. In fact, I considered starting my Instagram again.
  5. I have always used my Tumblr to promote my Instagram. With over 50k followers someone is bound to notice. And some of the people who followed me way back when, well they probably don’t even use that account anymore!
  6. In the more recent years, when I have too busy/lazy I have used Instamacro to like images under specific hashtags, in certain countries, females only, at a reasonable rate. More on this in a mo!

INSTAGRAM LIKING SPREES

Unpopular opinion but I don’t think Liking bots are AS bad as people make out. Don’t shoot and let me explain…

Do you ever go on the explore page or search a hashtag and like the fuck out of everything you see?

I know I do. Ok, yes it’s spammy. But I know some bloggers who have had liking sprees on my page and they don’t follow. Okay, fair enough.

So, when I have used Instamacro to do the exact same thing, is that so bad? Well, I’m not physically looking at the images I am liking. But I know that they fit a certain mould because I made it so. As I mentioned earlier I have searched specific hashtags for women in the UK and USA at a liking speed of medium. Yep, that’s the truth. I would now and again pay for a few days worth of liking when I couldn’t be bothered. Mad isn’t it?!

And want to know what I got from it? A slow ass following. Pretty fucking pointless to be honest. But it kept my “engagement” up when I was too lazy to do it myself.

Now, I know there are plenty of users who are guilty of searching hashtags and double tapping without paying any attention. There is no real difference other than you’re physically doing it and not losing out on $5.

 

LESSONS LEARNT

I admit I have been wrong in the past. I admit that liking posts without paying a bit of attention goes against the point of real engagement within the blogging community. And I do want to do better. I want to dedicate time to really appreciating images, posts. Taking time to comment and give someone real credit for the hard work they have put in.

And those who have been called out (and who know they are guilty) need to admit what they have done. There are definitely a lot worse than spam liking (although it’s not exactly playing fair).

Following and unfollowing on Instagram using bots is just mind-blowingly dumb. As it paying for followers straight off. There is NO POINT.

Come out and be honest, remove the crap and start again. Invest your money more wisely and grow your followers.

WHAT WE NEED TO DO AS BLOGGERS

This is a topic that should be discussed. But I don’t think to call people out directly is particularly fair. People should be able to explain themselves. And if they’re lying well, it will be obvious when people search them on Social Blade.

We need to let them get on with it and if they decide to be honest, support them and have respect that they were open about it. There is no need to be cruel. You don’t need to start accusing bloggers and influencers for buying followers when they clearly work hard. Instagram has had a lot of changes lately making follower counts and engagement peak and drop so before you start pointing fingers, think about it first.

Let’s just follow and like what we enjoy. Make more of an effort (that goes for me too) and stop using the internet as a way to make ourselves look better for the sake of getting a free holiday to show off to thousands of fake accounts.

I admit some of my previous methods of increasing followers was wrong, unfair and an inorganic way of growing a following. But lessons can be learnt. It’s not like I’ve been paid to post luxury products on Instagram or sent to the Maldives. But nonetheless, it doesn’t make it right. It is misleading. And it’s lying. Which is why I have done my best to remove them and create an organic following. 

 

Owner of this little blog! A lover of coffee, Disney and old stuff, blogging about my loves, passions and opinions.

4 Comments

  • Reply Aine April 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Yep. We’ve all made mistakes in the past, we need to not be so judgy. Although I have to admit, I’m entirely confused, this has been going on for years. To make it viable as a business for some people, they run automation – similar to people that send out automated emails etc. There are also a huge amount of people that use comment pods – I tried them in the past and couldn’t stick the fakery. Lots of common sense is required – I do wonder if some of the outraged people are annoyed that they didn’t get the chance to take advantage of it all, before it went to pot. If that makes sense. These types of accounts are easily spotted – also work noting though that by first glance some accounts can look fake – but they might have a popular youtube/blog/other media like yourself, so again with the common sense.

    Honestly Aine

    • Reply Laura April 17, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      Oh yes, I agree some are definitely easy to spot. However, the much larger bloggers also have a strong organic following too, so it can be a little harder to spot. It’s only when particular “influencers” start pissing people off they recognise that there’s something shady going on. And now everyone is on the witch hunt. It’s not particularly fair or nice. There are much better ways to call people out than just pure slanderous hate! It has been going on for years now, people are just learning to be more open about it as more bloggers are being given incredible opportunities that hardworking bloggers aren’t getting. xx

  • Reply Viktoria April 17, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Refreshing honesty!! Cudos to you and thanks so much for writing this post. In my eyes, admitting mistakes and owning up to them are two things that really show character!! 🙂

  • Reply Lena April 20, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I’ve used liking bots too and don’t really see anything wrong with it. The only reason I stopped was because people said IG could ban you for using it. I think people need to just focus on themselves rather than criticising other bloggers.

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