Are you fed up of those Instagram spam comments on your posts? And those spam followers with no profile pictures, offering more followers for free? Frickin’ spammers.
We’re in that boat with you.
How about instead of thousands of us climbing in that boat to escape them, we jump out of the boat and do something to stop them?
Instagram is my favourite app but it’s also becoming more popular for those damn fakes.
Did you know that there are potentially 24 million fake Instagram accounts? I know… that shocked me too.
So what can we do to get rid of them? How can we stop Instagram spam?
Make our profile private? But that could potentially hide us from new followers and customers…
Ignore them? But they’ll just keep on coming and filling up your comment section.
Delete the comment? Yay! Our post looks better now… but just wait until you post another…
The spam won’t get any less annoying unless you do something about it. And this is where I’m here to help.
What Does Spam Mean On Instagram?
Or another way of looking at this: What is a spam account on Instagram? Are there any giveaways?
It’s actually not that hard to figure out what Instagram spam is. Some of it is obvious from a mile away but some can be more subtle. It’s those subtle ones which might take a bit of extra work to confirm it’s spam, but like I said… it’s not that hard.
Whether it’s a comment or a follower, the same giveaways apply to both.
To be sure, just click on the profile name of the account.
No profile picture? This is a huge giveaway…
How can you have a profile picture when you aren’t a real person?
The answer is, you can’t… It’s spam.
Zero posts on the profile? Because they have nothing to post! It’s spam.
If the comment they leave on your post says something along the lines of ‘gain 1000 followers’ or ‘free followers, click here’ then this is definitely spam.
Why would clicking a link make 1000 genuine people follow you? Answer is… it wouldn’t. Nothing is that easy these days.
Follow for follow is tricky one. These could be genuine people in the same niche as you trying to build a following of relevant people and create their own community. I mean, if you’re into cars, surely you’d want to follow similar accounts and you’d want those accounts to follow you back and engage with your posts? Exactly.
This is a problem though when random people start commenting ‘follow for follow’ – these accounts generally just want new followers and they aren’t likely to follow you back.
These people will have ‘salesy’ type bio’s on their profile.
You’ve seen them before right? ‘I can’t believe I got 1000 new followers just by clicking this link! Try now for free’
Yeah those ones.
And then there’s those that direct you to naughty sites. These aren’t exactly what you want to see on a Monday morning whilst you’re eating your cornflakes and scrolling your Instagram feed is it?
Nope, thought not.
And last but not least, those comments or bio’s that claim they can make your Instagram grow through the roof or even make you famous. The ‘you’d be perfect for the role in the next TV series of Game of Thrones’ or ‘the next top model’. Well I hate to break this to you, but it’s pretty obvious that they aren’t real.
On the plus side though, these spam accounts or auto bots won’t steal or compromise your data.
That’s one bonus, hey?
But… if you have one of those moments where you don’t recognise a bot or a spam account and you click the link they are posting all over your account, or the link in their bio, this could be pretty bad.
These links often lead to malicious websites or apps. And you don’t want that.
One way to stop this from happening is to have a poke around in your ‘Following’ list. If you’re pretty ‘Insta-famous’, it can be a lonnnng task going through all of them. But ho-hum.
So anyway, if you come across an account with almost no posts or followers but they’re following thousands of account, it’s pretty certain that they’re a bot.
Do a quick block and report and job done.
3 Types Of Instagram Spam (And The Ugly Spammers Who Do It)
Spammers tend to fall into three categories. But at the end of the day, a spammer is a spammer and no matter what type, you don’t want your page associated with them.
Firstly we have…
The Passive Spammer
These are the accounts that have any combination of no profile picture, no posts, one post or a highly seductive profile picture with a bio that says something about clicking a link to get more followers.
These are the accounts that do nothing other than follow you in the hope that you’ll fall for the sales jargon in the bio and believe that clicking the link will actually make your Instagram page grow through the roof.
The Aggressive Spammer
These, like the passive spammers will follow you and hope you click the link in their bio, but to make extra sure that you have seen their follow, will comment on your posts to get your attention. They’ll either ask you to check out their profile to help you gain more followers, or they’ll direct you to a link to gain followers.
They’ll do this on as many posts as they want – the way they see it, the more comments, the more people see them and the more clicks on the link they get.
And finally, there’s…
The Tit-for-Tat Spammer
These are a little bit different from the other two, because these are usually normal people rather than bots.
These are the people who comment ‘Like for Like’ or ‘Follow for Follow’ – they basically want to trade with you. If you like their post, they’ll like yours. If they want to spend all day trawling through accounts asking for likes, then good for them. But I’d rather not have them all over mine.
Why Is Spamming Bad?
So now you know what spamming is and who the spammers are, so what?! I hear you ask.
‘They’re doing no harm so why can’t I just ignore them?’
Well you could just ignore them, but I don’t think you’ll want to. Their comments under your post distract your followers from your content.
Instead of reading your caption that you spent 20 minutes composing to make sure it sounded just right, they’re reading the massive comment underneath about gaining followers.
And… before you know it, they’ve clicked on the link in the comment and bam they’re away from your page and they haven’t even left you a like.
And we all like likes, right?
So what about fake followers? Why are they so bad?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
Fake followers, whilst making your follower count so much higher, can be a bit of a pain when it comes to organic growth.
That is, normal people choosing to follow you.
I’ll show you how the thought process goes…
The girl with 50k followers getting only 100 likes on her picture she posted at peak time… “Hmm that’s a bit fishy. Maybe she is buying her followers to make her seem more popular? Maybe I won’t follow her then, her posts are probably fake too. That’s probably not even her real name.”
And then wait until Instagram does one of their deep cleans where they wipe out those fake accounts, that’s when your follower count will drop massively so your 50k is now actually only 35k.
That sucks I know.
So the moral to the story is, unless you want those pesky bots and annoying tit-for-tat spammers damaging your work, fish out the fakes and sink the spammers.
So, how do we do that exactly?
How do we stop Instagram spam?
Well I’m afraid there isn’t a cut and dry answer.
Whilst Instagram are working behind the scenes to remove those accounts, you need to play your part to keep the boat afloat.
The easiest thing to do is to turn a blind eye and ignore – make your account private… but like I said before, that’s game over. You’re basically throwing your paddles in the sea, floating around and seeing where you end up. Just waiting for people to find you and request to follow you.
You won’t attract new followers and your posts won’t show up on the hashtag pages. So it’s pretty pointless using them.
The best thing you can do is report the spammers. Find them and make Instagram aware.
So how do I do that? I hear you ask.
How to Report Instagram Spam
Whether it’s a spammy comment or a fake follow, reporting them is super simple.
When you get a spam comment on your post, before you delete it, report it AND report the account.
Click on the profile picture next to the spam comment. This will open their profile. Then click the three dots in the top right corner and choose ‘Report’ and then ‘Block.
It’s as simple as that.
And for comments…
Swipe left on the comment until 2 tabs appear on the right. The left tab will be a kind of stop sign with an exclamation mark in the middle. Click this and report the comment.
And then if you don’t want the comment hanging around, swipe left again and hit the trash symbol.
It’ll take less than a minute of your life but will prevent your profile or post getting taken over by fakes and spammers.
It’s also a good idea to report spam comments from other people’s posts too. You’re basically flagging the spam accounts to Instagram before they get to you.
Of course, nothing is going to completely remove spam. Spam is always going to be lurking in the background and will pop out every now and again.
Sorry to break it to you but that’s just how it goes.
Spam comments seem to come in waves for me. I can go months without a single comment and them bam. Every single time I post, within seconds they comment.
‘Get new followers, click the link in my bio’
Erm… no thank you.
Report and Delete.
How Can I Prevent Instaspam?
In all honesty, not a lot.
99% of the time, spam is the work of auto bots creating their own API. (That sounds technical I know but it’s nothing to worry about).
There are so many bloggers and influencers facing this problem now, the bigger their account gets, the more spam that pops up.
The best thing you can do is report it just like I’ve explained above.
There are some sites that talk about apps which automatically remove any spam from your account.
Omg that sounds amazing!
But do they work?
Well that’s up for debate.
I’ve heard many a story of the app working wonders for some people and then doing nothing for others.
Plus there’s the added issue of Instagram playing games and switching up the algorithm every now and again.
You know how it goes, you just manage to get into routine of posting, liking and following and your account is starting to grow nicely and then BAM. Engagement drops.
Well the funny thing is, it’s the same for bots. The creators program them to match the app and then BAM, new algorithm that you have to spend ages learning about before you get back to your same level of engagement as before.
So just give the bots a break okay?
Ha… just kidding. Report Report Report!!!
And just in case you want the low down on Instagram’s view of abuse and spam, head over to the Instagram Help Center: Abuse & Spam.
Stop Spam On Instagram Through Comments Settings
Did you know that you can automatically filter out certain comments on your posts?
Nope, me neither… well until I started to write this post.
Hats off to Instagram though because this is a handy little feature!
If you click the cog in the top right hand corner of your profile (what used to be the three dots), scroll down and click ‘Comments’. This brings up a new screen where you can tailor which comments Instagram will remove from your posts!
So, the first option is to just hide offensive comments. If you want Instagram to decide which comments they think are offensive and remove them, then swipe right on the little button to the right of ‘Hide Offensive Comments’
But then you can go even further than that… If you swipe right next to ‘Enable Keyword Filters’, a box appears underneath which lets you type in specific words which you want Instagram to remove from your post.
Get it? Ok, here’s an example:
You post a really good picture of a banana.
And someone goes and ruins it by commenting ‘Hey, great apple!’… Not cool man. It’s clearly a banana.
But if you go to ‘Enable Keyword Filters’ and activate this, you type ‘apple’ into the box underneath and click ‘Done’, then that person tries to type their comment about apples, and bam. Instagram stops them in their tracks.
Alternatively, for those lazy people out there who don’t want to sit typing out all the possible combinations of offensive words, they can swipe right on ‘Use default keywords’ which appears underneath the text box. This will basically leave it up to Instagram to decide which words are offensive and make sure they never appear on your post.
So… What Is Instagram Doing About Spam?
Instagram are clearly aware of the problem with spam. They do regular automatic and manual sweeps of fake accounts, often making users’ followers plummet overnight.
But I’m sure you’ll agree, a few less followers is a lot better than fake users and bots all over your feed…
How To Stop Your Account From Taking Part In The Instagram Spam Scandal
But I’m not spamming?
That’s what you might think, but actually, seeing a lot of spam comments on your posts might be a sign that your account has been compromised.
One way to prevent this from happening is by deleting spam comments as soon as you see them on your post. If they’re removed as soon as they’re posted, then spammers won’t think that your account is a great place to post their spam.
Ok… but how do I get my account back?
Well, it could have been plain and simply hacked.
This happens all the time.
You aren’t the first, and you won’t be the last.
First thing to do is check your passwords. Change them regularly. Mix them up. Make words up that can’t be guessed.
Don’t go for the name of your pet and your birthday.
It won’t take long for people to figure that out, it’s not rocket science.
‘But my password is super strong, they never would have guessed that!’
Well in that case, remember the link you clicked?
The one that was left in a comment under your post?
The one that promised you lots of free followers?
Or the one in the bio of that account?
Well that’s how they got you.
They pulled you in, promised you thousands of followers and took your account.
The thing is, you might not even notice it’s been compromised until you get banned from Instagram for posting spam.
And you didn’t even realise…
So, the moral to the story is…
- Change your password. Regularly!
- Don’t try and get ‘free followers’. It really isn’t worth it.
Something else you might want to check is your authorised applications. You can only do this on the desktop site though, so you need to get yourself to a computer.
It’s super easy so it’s worth checking anyway, whether you think your account has been compromised or not.
- Go to Instagram.com
- Click your username and choose ‘Edit Profile’
- Click ‘Authorized Applications’
From there you should see any apps which you have authorised to access your Instagram account.
If anything is there which you don’t recognise, or no longer want to be there, just click ‘Revoke Access’.
Easy as that.
Now let me talk you through some pretty useful apps below, and then you go ahead and check your apps.
Online Tools – Apps
So, there are some apps which claim to dig out the fakes and the spammers and remove them from your account for you.
Personally, I can’t say I’ve tried these as I’d rather control my account myself, but those who have tried them have had some pretty good results.
First up is Insta Ghost. Just like it says on the tin, this app picks out the ghosts. The users who have become inactive, and no longer comment or follow.
The only problem with this is that finding them is as far as it goes. You still have to report them to Instagram yourself.
But hey, it does half the job for you!
IGExorcist shows the ghost followers and then gives you the option to unfollow them.
There are a couple more apps which do the same thing but I’m not going to go into them here.
I do want to mention ‘Smart Moderation’ though.
Smart Moderation is basically an app which uses artificial intelligence to get rid of spam and comments.
You can program it to do exactly what you want. Whether it’s hiding comments, deleting comments or blocking people. This app has got you.
You can read more about this app here.
So. That’s the what, how and why of spam.
If you follow what we have talked about above then you’re taking steps in the right direction to help stop spam on Instagram.
You’re helping to keep it a place where you can carry on growing your account, posting nice pictures and attracting the right kind of followers and comments.
And just to make you feel a little bit better… The spammers don’t just target normal people like you and me.
The celebrities get their fair share of fakes and spam too. And this can have detrimental effects on their brand or business.
Imagine following a huge clothing brand on Instagram and then they start posting spam comments on your posts.
Erm… no thank you.
I’m not buying from them again!
Exactly. How bad is that?!
In 2014, when Instagram had a massive clear out of fake followers and spam accounts, millions of accounts were deleted. This was great – less spam and less fakes. Woohoo!
Well, not woohoo for everyone.
Akon (he’s a rapper. Sang Lonely? Remember that one? Yeah? Good.), yeah well he lost more than half of his followers who happened to be spam accounts. And then after that, people started to accuse him of buying followers! He went on to delete his account after that.
See how bad they can be?
That’s why you need to do something.
Report. Report. Annnnnd report.
Food For Thought…
Sometimes certain hashtags can attract the spam too. Certain bots monitor hashtags and as soon as you post something under a specific #, they spot you and make a move and you’re on their radar.
The same goes for following or liking certain accounts or posts.
If you want to learn how to stop this from happening, check this out.
So, just to wrap it up.
Spammers will always be there. There’s nothing you can do about that. Keep reporting, check your account security and mix up those hashtags.