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News & Insight

Instagram Shuts Down Instagram Bot Service | Choking Bots To Save Legitimacy Is A Good Thing

By Kishore Sawh on April 22nd 2017

Instagram shuts down Instagress, and if you’re trying to legitimately build a social following that’s something to celebrate.

As if the very nature of Instagram didn’t lend it to be be somewhat humbling and even confidence-crushing for a majority, bots sort of made it worse, and those not particularly social-savvy had no idea what bots were or that they were surrounded by them. Bots are used to fill the gaps in ability and desire, fluffing up social presence and interaction in a way no single person could, all in the name of gaining more followers.

Instagram, it was said some years ago, was the social platform most closely linked to depression, and why that should be the case isn’t difficult to see. Instagram typically provides a meticulously curated feed of visuals that are share-worthy, versus the mundane. Consider: we’re more likely to share a picture of a glitzy night out than when slumming it on the couch; more prone to share a photo while on a vacation in Biarritz than that B&B in Jersey with the questionably clean sheets. The continual string of these images in a feed make it appear that the lives of others are just strewn with daisies instead of your life’s usual cowpats.

[RELATED: Instagram For The Working Photographer | Clients Can Soon Book You In-App]

Bots made this worse because they seemed to show a level of interaction and follower growth as normal that was anything but. They delegitimize the platform and users who actually build things the true way. Furthermore they mess with the primary measurement metrics so it harms everyone in the long run because judging true value becomes harder when interaction and engagement is artificial.

Now, before you make the mistake of thinking you see the bots because you report and delete spam accounts, understand that they are two different things. Spam accounts are just that, and they can use bots, but many bots you’re likely being affected by are linked to valid accounts of individuals and businesses. That designer with 300k followers that liked your last 2 photos and followed you? The random aspiring model in spandex and snapback with 85k that did the same (only to unfollow you soon after)? Good chance they are enlisting bot services to do this, and Instagress was a major one.

The shutting down of Instagress may have some crying, but I think we can agree this is a ‘W’ for photographers and social businesses on a whole. Hopefully this is just the first of many, and the start of a better way of addressing this problem, especially as IG takes more and more steps to becoming a platform of commerce.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Lakin Jones

    I completely disagree with you on this one.

    Bots aren’t bad. What’s bad is thinking that Instagram is this free form organic ecosystem where people rise to the top because they are doing something better than someone else. While it might have started out that way (before being acquired by Facebook) it like all things on the internet quickly evolved into a tool to sell to customers.

    Bots are used is to gain followers which provides access to potential customers so users can sell more of their services or goods.

    Instagram is shutting down those bots/services because it takes away from Instagram’s own advertising revenue. Instagram’s advertising services are suppose to provide greater access to customers in a targeted manner.

    The trick is, the bots do a better job of gaining followers and thus providing opportunity to sell than Instagram’s own ad services. Typically it is in the follow/un-follow method because Instagram limits the number of follows you can have at one time. Doing this by hand would be incredibly difficult and slow.  Bots exist to help sell, not so someone can sit atop a high and mighty pile of followers and look down on the pleabs.

    It’s all about access and targeted marketing. Once instagram does it better and cheaper than the bots, the bots will cease to matter. Until then, Instgram will target the bots cus it is “costing them money”.

    I’m not personally invested in Instagram or any platform for that matter so I can say this from a neutral perspective.

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