Russia Have Introduced Instagram Follower Vending Machines

The advent of Instagram fame has pushed applicable limits of the phrase 'any publicity is good publicity' to breaking point. Follow backs, pods, buying followers, bots, the list goes on, and as much as you might find all the same things on Twitter, Instagram is in a class of its own. Even by that standard though, this new Russian trend is pretty ridiculous.

It's been possible to buy fake Instagram followers and likes from fake accounts for years, but a like/follower dispensing vending machine was recently spotting in a shopping centre near the Kremlin. Obviously it doesn't physically vend anything, that would be insane, but with a few button presses you can buy followers for your account or likes for your posts. Seriously.

100 followers will set you back 100 roubles, or around £1.35/$1.75. That's a somewhat higher rate than you might find on some follower farm websites, but not significantly so. Presumably the thinking was that it was more convenient, but considering that most people are carrying the internet around in their pockets anyway, the only thing you can really say it saves you is a few pennies on your monthly data bill if you really are so minded to buy followers when you're out and about.

The machines were developed by a company called Snaptap, and thankfully they've been forward thinking enough to include a range of other features, the most prominent of which being the ability to print your Instagram photos straight from the machine. You can also use the same follower/like buying service for a few other social networks, Russian or otherwise.

They'll probably never become anywhere close to global, currently they're only available in nine Russian cities (and Prague) and potential customers have been warned that using them will result in an avalanche of spam, which suggests that they probably violate a number of advertising/data regulations elsewhere in the world.

Still, it's an interesting idea, and it's far from the only instance of a company trying to condense social media activity into a physical product. It usually doesn't extend further than a gimmick (unless you're Snapchat) and the real potential of 'social media hardware' has yet to be reached, but don't be surprised if some comparable iteration of the 'vend-a-follower' machine turns up a bit closer to home at some point.

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