Instagram Spam

I still choose Instagram as my favorite social media service. With over 2,000 pictures taken and counting on my account, I will not be slowing down anytime soon (Follow me…@BrentReser). Even though I am loyal to Instagram and routinely sing its praises, there is something about the service that takes some of the fun out of it: SPAM.

I try to keep the selfies to a minimum.

I try to keep the selfies to a minimum.

I know, I know, I know, all social media outlets are prone to spam. What service has not fallen victim to annoying garbage? Facebook has all the silly app requests and wall posts, Twitter has fake accounts, and MySpace became a deserted wasteland overran by spam. But you know what? Besides MySpace, the other two social media services successfully combated spam as the networks evolved. With Facebook I can simply turn on a switch that will prevent users from posting mafia, angry birds, and entourage gibberish on my wall. I can block certain applications from even bothering me with a notification. With Twitter, no longer do I get e-mail notifications telling me that some bot has followed me. No longer do I get automated replies to my tweets. Twitter cleaned up and has policed its service effectively. Bravo.

Too bad for Instagram…instead of starting out with problems and fixing them over time like FB and Twitter, the service started out pretty clean but is now getting taken advantage of by spammers. My frustration stems from the fact that there are just so many ways to get spammed on Instagram. Many of these ways ruin pictures, distort “like” counts, pollute the picture database, and trick gullible people. Let me run down the different ways that spam manifests itself on Instagram.

Spam Followers/Spam Likes: Nothing sucks more than opening up Instagram and getting notified that you have eight new likes and three new followers only to see that the notifications are only popping up because accounts such as @Shoutouts_123321_ and @_get_new_ipad_3_6 are following you and liking your pictures. How are these accounts allowed to exist? Everyone knows that these profiles are not going to get anyone shout outs or anyone an iPad just like the @get5550likes_vvf account is not going to get anyone 5,550 likes. Besides being completely useless and impersonal, these accounts also contribute to an inflated “like” count. Call me weird but I do take pride in pictures that I post that produce lots of “likes”. However, all sense of accomplishment is gone when spam accounts make up half the of them. These garbage accounts don’t just waste space, they provide skewed data to users.


It is depressing to have so many great followers only to have it ruined by a spam account.

It is depressing to have so many great followers only to have it ruined by a spam account.


Curse of the Hash Tag: Whereas all users are prone to the above general spam accounts that follow and “like” everyone, those of us who enjoy hash tags must put up with a different wave of spammers…those accounts that automatically “like” specific pictures marked with a hash tag. Now I love cats and I love Instagraming pictures of my own cat but I HATE getting “likes” from @mjthecat, @instaabycat,@raph_the_cat, and @tuxedokitty01 the SECOND that I post a picture of her. Besides once again inflating numbers, these accounts make me look like I have some type of sick cat fetish. I find it unnerving that Instagram has not implemented a policy or software that disallows spam accounts from automatically liking pictures based on keywords. Just because I like football does not mean that each time I hash tag #football in an Instagram picture that it has to get “liked” by counterfeit football accounts.

I love cats, but this spam account is much too corny for me.

I love cats, but this spam account is much too corny for me.

Automated Comments: Out of the four spam tactics on Instagram that I am speaking out against tonight, this one irritates me the most. In fact, it doesn’t just irritate me, it makes me mad. It is one thing if a fake account is going to “like” my picture and get its name denoted under the image but it is a whole different thing when a trash account comments for everyone to see. I detest messages that go like this…”Hey want 2 make some $$? Respond with your name and address to be eligible”…..or….”Follow us right now to gain 1,500 followers guaranteed.” I want nothing more than my photos to spark conversation between my friendly followers. It makes Instagram fun and engaging. But when a spam account puts some baloney credit card or money related automated message under the picture, it kills discussion. Worse though, it just violates my account and I hate it. I never remember Facebook having problems with spam appearing under photos. Why Instagram? What will always get me to lash out, however, is when a legitimate account leaves an automated spam message under one of my pictures. Right away I will call the user out. A few times the user has responded to me with curse words but more often than not the user will apologize and admit that he/she had their account hacked. If the user responds to me with obscenities I will report that account, if the user is sympathetic and admits to getting hacked I take it as a self-awareness lesson. Regardless, Instagram needs to do something to control this.

Eyesore Pictures: Finally, Instagram needs to clean up the pictures in its database that really aren’t pictures at all. The service has a problem with spam photos that perpetrate the same types of schemes that spam accounts plague on our own legitimate photos. For example, I love to search hash tags on Instagram. Every now and then I will enter #Vegas. Mixed in with all the beautiful pictures of the Vegas strip and the gorgeous pools, you will find several images that consist of terrible graphics and mangled words. Many times the photos will nudge the users to do something to **surprise surprise**gain more followers or to apply for cash. These spam pictures will use many of the most popular searched hash tags to aid people in finding them. It is a joke. It is also an eyesore and a complete scam.

I hate seeing this garbage when I search hash tags.

I hate seeing this garbage when I search hash tags.

Instagram is an awesome service with still a lot of potential. However, measures need to be taken to address this growing spam problem. With its multi-billion dollar deal with Facebook, I am hoping that the great minds at Mark Zuckerberg’s company can create something to lessen the impact of the junk train that is making the constant rounds at Instagram. With any business or service the goal is to improve, not digress. While still on the upside, I hope Instagram cleans up this problem before it gets really out of control. What a shame it would be to become the next MySpace. Don’t Blink.

27 thoughts on “Instagram Spam

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  2. I’ve just recently started hashtagging my pictures, and in the last week have received over 70 new followers that are just the same name twice, like “Alice Alice” and then have one picture about getting more followers. It’s enraging…but I don’t know how to just clean them all out, do you know of any apps that will delete them for me?

    • Taylor,

      Getting rid of these spam accounts is still a mystery to me. Sorry I could not be of more help. I appreciate you reading though.

      – Brent

      • It’s been pretty bad the last few days but today it’s off the hook!! It’s as if they strategized an attack today. I’ve received over 100 spam follower requests and it’s getting exhausting just blocking and reporting them. As much as I love IG, it makes me want to quit!

    • Let me know if you find a solution. I started getting the same spam on my account. Double names. It’s infuriating and it’s getting worse by the day. I stopped hashtagging pictures as of yesterday but they’re still coming.

  3. I am here hoping to find a solution too. in the past two days I have received so many new followers, all of them the same double name or similar odd naming and they’ve been overwhelmingly a supposed site called elitegram and something like girlygirly among others. that elitegram is the definite majority I have gotten. I have reported and blocked them all but they just keep coming from new “accounts”. usually one or two “pictures” that is always that non-picture saying how we can get more followers….etc. I am so tired of it. thinking about deleting my account. but I hate to do that. for now I am on private. but they are still coming in as requests to follow me. so frustrating.

  4. This is a ridiculously frustrating issue. I completely understand when you say your sense of accomplishment and pride is smashed by the fact that half the likes you get nowadays are coming from spam accounts. Is it just me or has the spam colony multiplied in the past few days?

  5. I use instaghost on iPhone to delete fake followers.. it took time to run e database (filtered by followers with no likes or comments) then you can drop them.. but again, isnt it instagram’s problem?? they need “swipe to delete” followers option so badly

    • Hey Aik,

      I appreciate you offering a solution that you use. I definitely think I am going to download instaghost.

      Thank you,

  6. Couldn’t agree more. Put two pictures on this morning and suddenly have 100 new followers, mainly spammers 🙁 definitely got worse in past couple of weeks! Sort it out IG!!!

  7. I just checked out Instaghost and it gets rid of seemingly legit people too. I just want to get rid of the spam accounts. I’m thinking about making a service to clean out the spam… something you could run weekly.

    If it just went through your followers and blocked the obvious spam followers, would that be worth $20?

  8. Absolutely agree with you! The worst thing is that zombie accounts have a new weapon now–tagging you in their stupid pics!! And you have to remove yourself from those pics one by one, and another crowd will come again. It drives me crazy…….T_T

  9. I got a comment from an account that said: Ay i love Dana. When I pressed it it was gone n the account was set to private n I couldn’t see anything, was this spam..?

  10. What about the fake shoutouts, those are REALLY annoying, im starting to think that spam shoutouts are some form of way to make money

  11. If anyone is still looking for a way to remove spam followers… simply go to their profile, click “block user” confirm then click “unblock user” cinfirm once more.

    They will automatically be removed from following you.

    Hope that helps.

  12. That’s nothing. Every time I post new photos onto my Instagram, some fake bikini themed scammer with photos of scantily clad women showing off their privates in a explicit matter would come along and like my pics. I check their accounts and find that their account always contain a remark that says “follow us on Instagram and get 1,000 likes” or any similar statements. Then I end up blocking them only for the same spammer to come back with a different account yet similar format. Sometimes I receive a massage containing a photo of an Instagram icon that encourages people to get over 1,000 likes or more. I’m on the verge of setting my Instagram to private or quit Instagram until they improve their anti-spamming policies.

  13. And the sad thing is that this post been made two years ago, and Instagram only got worse! I finally decided to block someone I know personally on my account cause she always get her account hack even after I told her to that she been hack!

  14. I’m kind of late to the game on this post. I found it by searching google for keywords related to this blog post. I can’t agree with you more. I *hate* it when I see these “serial likers” (for lack of a better term) pop in and like my posts in their consecutive/chronological order. Just today I was notified that a user liked the last 9 pictures I posted (in their posted order). The subject matter between pictures is unrelated a lot of times so there is no correlation in their liking pattern. That’s an immediate giveaway for me and I usually block those accounts because I know they aren’t really interested in my content; they are just fishing for followers. I don’t get near as many likes as you do but I certainly get enough to keep me busy dealing with it. IMO, IG needs to get smarter with their profiling algorithms.

  15. it’s happening again (Jan-Feb 2018). 20 minutes I got 7 likes, 6 are spammers (get more followers, get famous….most are same but with a different 3 digit number). after 24 hrs of blocking and reporting, I give up. Just will stop using IG; going no posts until IG fixes itself.

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