Do you have an Instagram spam problem as of recent? If yes, you’re not alone.
We’ve noticed in the last few weeks that spam accounts have been sending random group messages to our personal accounts and the Preen.ph page. Most of these accounts send photos and links to pornographic material—not creepy at all.
We also saw an influx of bots posing as foreign accounts viewing our Instagram Stories. Personally, I’ve been hiding my Stories from at least 10 accounts—my current “Hide Story From” count is at 125—every day because I don’t want my privacy to be compromised.
Why is this happening though? Right now, there’s no direct explanation as to why we’re receiving these group messages. But based on their pornographic nature, it might be related to Instagram’s “booty” problem wherein fake accounts (featuring photos and videos of half-naked women) comment on posts.
Endgadget notes these accounts usually comment on celebrities’ posts with the same spiel: “DON’T LOOK at my STORY, if you don’t want to M A S T U R B A T E !”
honestly Instagram needs to handle this shit. https://t.co/f2JJXly6hv
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) April 21, 2019
For some reason, these comments also receive thousands of likes, making them the top comments on popular posts. It’s also scary because these porn bots are finding ways to avoid being detected by Instagram’s security systems. One of the tricks Endgadget cites is that these accounts add spaces to words (as seen above) and make grammatical errors to make it difficult for people and Instagram to filter out.
Perhaps these are the same accounts that are reeking havoc in our Instagram DMs, and there seems to be no stopping them even after Instagram announced they’ll remove fake accounts on the platform. After all, there are said to be over 150 million fake accounts on Instagram alone.
As for the random IG Stories viewers, Hydrogen theorizes that “several small social media agencies are using this as a technique to seem like they are interacting with the public” via bots that seem like real people who have high follower counts. Sadly, this can’t be fixed easily unless you put your account on private. The outlet adds people use services that “can search for Stories using hashtags, geo-tags—or even people who follow a particular account.”
How should you deal with these spam accounts and bots? Here are three quick tips:
Report as spam and block
An Instagram spokesperson told Refinery29 that their moderation services do work to remove inappropriate content in direct messages. While you can ignore the sketchy group message from a spam account, it’s better to open the message and click the “i” icon to report it as spam and blocking it. This will remove the message from your folder, and also notifies Instagram to block the unwanted messages and prevent them from re-appearing.
Hide your Stories
If you don’t want to switch to private and you don’t want to see random bots viewing your Stories, then just utilize the “Hide Story” option. You can take it a step further and report these accounts as spam as well. It’s a tedious process, but Instagram is usually fast with suspending accounts that violate its guidelines.
Handling a massive social media platform that’s popular worldwide isn’t an easy thing to do, and Instagram might not be able to address concerns in a snap. If you reported an account (or multiple ones) and Instagram hasn’t done anything yet, you can tweet them or send a report via their Help Center. Fingers crossed that they see your queries and act on them ASAP.
Ideally, we shouldn’t be dealing with pesky spam accounts and bots on any of our social media platforms. But hopefully Instagram solves this problem soon because we don’t want to keep reporting fake accounts for the next few months, TBH.
Art by Tricia Guevara
For the latest in culture, fashion, beauty, and celebrities, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here
This is what Instagram will look like once we hide likes
You can soon put your preferred pronoun and gender identity on Instagram
We bet your favorite Instagrammer has these IG Stories apps too
Read this before reacting to an extremely problematic social media post