Instagram Fakers and How to Spot Them

I’ve put off really taking about this infuriating topic for ages now as I really feel I’m only writing it for other bloggers rather than a wider audience, but a recent tweet of mine that lead to more questions got me thinking it’s actually useful to hear for anyone who has a core value of authenticity, integrity or basically not lying and cheating and doesn’t want to support it. To be clear though this isn’t designed as a way of outing anyone so I’ve covered all names and encourage if you do think someone is cheating, then just unfollow and move on. I’ve seen too many people get it wrong or be victimised for trying to ‘out’ someone, be it direct to them or on social media, and it unfortunately gets you nowhere except stressed at a minimum.

But it’s safe to say even just to spot someone cheating so you can stop supporting them is great so here are my tips to help:

1. The ❤️

When you go on Instagram click on the heart where you get your notifications and swipe right to see activity from who you are following like:

  • Posts they’ve like – will show a max of 8 photos in one notification
  • Who they’ve followed- will show up to 3 clickable account names and then the words and xx others. Maximum is 15 including clickable names
  • Comments they’ve left on other photos
  • What comments they’ve liked

Don’t forget, people have friends all over the globe and family that may not take the best photos but are still things people want to like. But if anything seems fishy then just take a look deeper using the following pointers

2. Dodgy photos being liked

The ones highlighted in red below show some standout posts, the first one is a travel account liking a post about custom t shirt printing. The travel account appeared regular down this page when I scrolled at this time liking and following a lot of accounts so stuck out to me. Clicking on the photo the travel account doesn’t follow the t shirt account (so they aren’t friends IRL) so how did they spot the t shirt photo? It has 2 very generic #’s and is a day old photo so wouldn’t appear in those # feeds. The tshirt account has 1000+ likes on that photo and they only have 3600 followers. That’s an engagement of over 30%! With just 2 hashtags. They’ve also only started their account in late January and have a total of 15 photos. It’s dodgy. And the people liking it are most probably dodgy too, and have no interest in the photo. If you see an account doing this on the regular then chances are they aren’t actually liking these photos themselves.

Ps the one highlighted in green is a fashion account liking fab fashion photos this is the kind of thing I’d expect to see on here!

3.Following Randomers

It’s harder to show this one but the ones highlighted in the first photo above are ones I would check. Just click the name and the account will appear. Any dodgy names or just letters and numbers are usually ones worth a click. My fave discovery was finding a well know male influencer with a girlfriend following three gay accounts, one just posting photos of men’s bums. Needless to say when I checked back the day later he was no longer following them. Basically he hadn’t followed them a bot had, he then woke up and unfollowed or the bot did!

Tips for this is to look for people in far off places to the influencers home, usually with only a few posts, or selling sites in other languages to their native language. Often these accounts will only have a few followers or lots. Recently I’ve seen that they are usually following close to the 7,500 limit but haven’t used any of those for these examples:

4. Follow/unfollow.

Some say this isn’t cheating, however I disagree. Following someone to alert their attention to your account with the sole intention of unfollowing them straight after isn’t good. But most people use a bot to do this too. To see if they are doing this you can use the site Social Blade. Here’s a great example of someone using bots. You can see them following an extensive amount of accounts then unfollowing lots days later, from this they are gaining followers and potentially buying some too- that spike of 551 is quite excessive! The account below though has shown elements of all the above though so these stats are just solidifying this.Look for:

  • High unfollowing then high following more than anyone can realistically do in a day never mind consistently
  • Gaining followers like water, either because of the following or because thy are buying them, who knows!

There are of course things to bear in mind with all this, which is wear it’s very hard to spot a 100% cheat in most instances. Think about :

  • Accounts may have been featured somewhere prominent and got them a surge in likes- it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve bought them
  • They may be holding a competition- another reason for gaining fast followers sometimes held genuinely to reward their existing followers and help spread the word of their account
  • They may be part of a follow-loop competition- this is where they put in money to buy a fab prize and each account links to the next creating a massive loop. There can be upwards of 25 accounts in these loops but when the prize is as attractive as a Gucci bag people do it! (I also see this as a bit of cheating really as you aren’t celebrating your own following it’s purely done to get more followers)
  • People may also have a clear out and unfollow accounts. Whilst writing this I’ve uncovered lots of cheats. And you bet I’ve unfollowed them all! I also did the same when this all kicked off last year and was surprised to see how many I got rid of! There was also lots of accounts that were no longer active and people do choose to do this as a way of making sure they only see the content they want to. It’s unlikely it’ll be in mass amounts like on the above

So that’s all I have, please use these tips to look at anyone you might think are suspicious and make your own mind up on them. This isn’t designed to create any witch hunts or outings of cheats eventually I like to think they’ll get found out, and confronting them or outing them usually ends up in a bad way for the person doing it. Plus if you’re wrong it’s defamation of character really so I would definitely avoid naming names at any time!