Instagram cracks down on fake likes, follows and comments

And it’s prompting users to sever ties with the apps that generate them.

Instagram announced today that it's cracking down on the use of third-party apps to boost growth. The company said that apps that generate fake likes, follows and comments violate its policies and going forward, those who use these sorts of apps will be prompted to stop. "We're taking a number of steps to limit this kind of unwelcome behavior," Instagram said. "Accounts we identify using these services will receive an in-app message alerting them that we have removed the inauthentic likes, follows and comments given by their account to others." They'll also be asked to change their passwords.

Instagram said that it has built machine learning tools that are capable of spotting which accounts use these types of third-party apps, which often ask for users' passwords in order to dole out fake interactions on their behalf. Those who continue to use these apps will "see their Instagram experience impacted," the company said. Instagram told TechCrunch that those impacts could, for example, be limited access to certain features.

This move follows Facebook's actions against accounts engaged in inauthentic activity, which are typically the sorts of accounts linked to misinformation campaigns on the platform. "Since the early days of Instagram, we have auto-detected and removed fake accounts to protect our community," the company said. "Today's update is just another step in keeping Instagram a vibrant community where people connect and share in authentic ways."