13.03 2020 11:00h

What To Do If Someone Is Buying You Fake Followers

Here's how to put a stop to it immediately
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Frenemies, enemies and bullies have found a new method to torment Instagram users, discredit their brand and ruin their engagement all in one go.

Buying another account fake followers (yup, you read that correctly!) is now a very real tactic when it comes to throwing a wrench into someone else’s Insta-success – and there is little an account owner can do once the damage is done (apart from deleting all the fake followers, which can take some time.)

While racking up thousands of followers in a day may sound like an ideal problem to have if you’re a start-up or new content creator on the platform, it certainly isn’t helpful if it isn’t authentic growth.

While it’s normal for an account’s following to fluctuate, depending on the various (organic) methods a user is undertaking in order to grow their audience, it’s not normal for a following to increase drastically within a very short time frame (unless you’ve done something that has gone viral, collaborated with a big-name content creator or suddenly find yourself with celebrity status.)

With many websites selling followers for as low as $1 followers, this seems like an ideal way for a jealous competitor to sabotage your account’s trustworthiness within the eyes of marketers and brands.

So…How do you know if someone has bought you fake followers?

If you monitor your audience on a regular basis, it’s easy to tell if someone has bought you fake followers.

You’ll see unexpected (and unexplained) growth within a very short period of time (i.e. thousands of followers within a few hours.) The new accounts following you might not even look like they belong to people at all; they may lack a proper content, bios and profile pictures. They will often be set to private and it won’t actually look like any normal person is running the account.

Your account may also unexpectedly become shadow-banned without any explanation, as Instagram flags the rapid growth.

How can I stop someone from buying my Instagram account fake followers?

If you think someone is buying your account fake followers, don’t panic.

There’s an easy way to put a stop to it immediately: switch your Instagram account to private. This way you will be able to have full control over who follows you and only accept accounts that are real.

While some damage might have already been done, once you’ve switched your account’s privacy settings no one else will be able to follow you without your permission. You can then go through and assess the damage, by evaluating just how much your audience has “grown.”

How can I tell a “real” follower from a “fake” follower? And how do I get rid of fake followers?

You can tell apart fake followers or “bots” by checking their activity, weather they follow a lot of people without having many followers themselves, and if they start spamming your content with Likes.

You can then go ahead and get rid of the fake account by blocking it. If the same “bot” accounts continue to follow your account even after blocking one of them, you can always try and report their accounts to the platform.

Once you’ve removed the fake followers, wait it out for a period of time before switching your account back to public.

The good news is Instagram is aware of the fake follower issues on the platform. 

Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) reached a settlement earlier this month with a New Zealand company famous for selling fake followers. The company owners were banned from using Facebook services and forced to pay fine.

Last year, over 1.5 billion fake accounts were removed and Facebook is continuing to crackdown this $1.3 billion epidemic and making an effort to remove these services.

In the meantime, however, the only way to stop someone from buying you fake followers is to keep your account private.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Image credit: Unsplash.

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