It’s been a long time coming, but Instagram’s latest update might just pop the influencer bubble. In an effort to increase transparency on Instagram for users and advertisers alike, the platform has announced that it will begin to ban paid followers and likes.
“Recently, we’ve seen accounts use third-party apps to artificially grow their audience,” Instagram notes in a press release. “People come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions,” the company adds, which sounds somewhat laughable, given the ephemeral and transient nature of digital connections and interactions; however, it will hold so-called “influencers” accountable.
Many well-known social media influencers use third-party apps to purchase likes and followers on their posts, to effectively boost their clout. This has proven to be a lucrative business, as some bloggers have reportedly been able to command six-figure deals with brands, simply for promoting a single product or campaign within a photo or two on Instagram.
In order to make these promotions more credible and weed out “inauthentic activity” on Instagram, the company is introducing “machine learning tools” to eliminate fake likes, followers and the accounts that promote it. For users, this is great. But for influencers who bank on fake followers, not so much.