Instagram Using Machine Learning to Crack Down on Fake Likes, Follows, and Comments

Instagram is taking steps to limit inauthentic activity on its network.

As part of its ongoing efforts to secure its platform, Instagram says it has begun to remove what it calls “inauthentic” likes, followers and comments from the accounts of users that use third-party apps as a means of raising the popularity of their posts. The company said in a blog post that it was taking such steps in order to ensure the security of its community guidelines and usage terms.

“Every day people come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions,” the company said. “It is our responsibility to ensure these experiences aren’t disrupted by inauthentic activity. Starting today, we will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity.”

According to the blog post, the Facebook-owned company is using a new machine learning tool for identifying accounts that used third-party apps to artificially boost their follower count as well as post interactions. The inauthentic activity, Instagram says, will then be removed from the account. Since giving out the username and password to these types of apps can also pose security risks, Instagram is also asking these users to go through a password reset.

Accounts that choose to continue using third-party apps to bolster their perceived popularity may see their Instagram experience impacted, the company says. Instagram did not specify what that means exactly, but one guess is the reach of those accounts will be limited. The accounts may even be suspended, as third-party apps that generate inauthentic activity are a violation of Instagram’s community guidelines.

In August, Instagram added new tools to increase “authenticity” on the social network, including two-factor authentication and verified accounts. Users can apply for a verified blue badge, like on Twitter, to show they’re the real deal. Instagram also detected and removed fake accounts, according to the company’s blog post.

And Instagram isn’t done: “We’ll have more updates in the coming weeks on additional measures we’re taking to tackle inauthentic activity on Instagram,” the company wrote on its blog.