One of Instagram's Biggest Bot-Making Tools Has Been Taken Down

For businesses, being able to create social media bots to increase the reach of their content is vitally important. There are a number of different ways to do it, but by far the easiest is to use a third party app. There are a few cross-platform ones, numerous Twitter dedicated ones and a fair amount for Instagram too. The relationship between these services and the platforms themselves has always been rocky, however, and now one of the biggest has been shut down for good.

The site, known as Instagress, announced in a statement that they were shutting down due to a request from Instagram themselves. As you can see below, they also included a GIF of Godzilla ripping a pagoda down in the statement, just in case it wasn't clear how they feel about all this. Users are also being offered refunds.

Instagram have been clear that they have a zero tolerance policy towards fake accounts, yet since they originally promised to get rid of them all 3 years ago, the practise is still going strong. In the strictest sense, the accounts that Instagress create aren't fake, they're just automated. The idea is that they use likes and shares to push up the reach of a particular post. Usually this is done to increase the chance of gaining some ad revenue, and that's where the issue gets really murky.

Artificially bolstering the popularity of a post is one thing, but using that popularity to earn money which could have gone to someone who was generating interest organically isn't exactly the most amicable way to conduct business. Instagram are trying to be fair to everyone, and paying to have posts boosted is distinctly unfair.

In some ways, Insta have only themselves to blame for this trend coming into existence. By changing the feed from chronological to algorithmic, they created a system wherein some posts simply will not get seen unless something is done to increase their popularity. Given how much some brands and influencers rely on Instagram, it's hardly surprising that some of them have started cheating.

Instagram can play whack-a-mole with this paid services all they want, but there are plenty of other workarounds out there which aren't so easy to police. Pods, for example are a community-driven way of achieving the same goal, and for every large scale bot operation that gets snubbed out, there are 5 more to take it's place. One way or another, this is going to keep on happening.

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