You just got followed by an account that has 27k followers, and each of his post has 3k+ likes, you're probably super excited. I'm sorry, I'm about to burst your bubble.
(Update November 2018: I just found a REALLY good website that helps you judge if an influencer's profile is fake or not. Click here and then click "log in" from the side menu to register)
10 checks you can use to analyse an account for bullshit
- Let's start with the basics. Most people only buy fake followers (not likes and comments) so an easy peak at their Follower to Like ratio will tell us everything. Good news is, that most bullshitters stop here, they won't go the next step and buy fake engagement.
- Sometimes they buy followers but, also buy likes, so now we check the comments. 2000 likes but 0 comments? Something is fishy here, specially if this is the case with most of the posts.
- What if the account buys comments too? Yes, that is possible. There is an app available on the app store right now, that let's you choose the comments you want on one of your posts, and then people come and post them for you. People are commenting what they've been told to comment in return for some in-app currency (which they will spend on getting others to do the same thing).
- You can look at videos. Most bot accounts don't post videos because it's harder to fake views. (This is not always the case though, some buy fake views too.) When you analyse the videos, you want to compare the likes of a photo to the likes of the video. If an account is getting 1000 likes on the photo but no where near that on a video, I call bullshit.
They can buy the likes on the video if they want, but that is hard work. Fake views take time to process and likes come in instantly. The account would get caught if the post has more likes than it does views.
- While you're checking the video posts, keep an eye on the "views to likes ratio". Wouldn't it look odd if a video post has 1,429 views and 1,355 likes? What, the video was so good that 90% of the people who watched it, liked it? Lol k.
Lookout for the ratio being too small too. 1000+ views and less than 20 likes? If the video was that bad, how did it get so many views? If the algorithm sees a bad post, it stops showing it in people's feeds
- We're at step 6 now so let me tell you some real detective work (aka stalker). If you really want to analyse an account, look at who's liking/commenting and check out their profile. Does that person look like they would like that sort of post/profile? For example, a 20 something fitness girl liking/commenting on a bad lighting selfie of an Indian 15 year old lad. Come on, let's be real. They both probably used the app (read below for app notes)
- Continuing from step 6, check if the comments are too generic. Let me expand on this because I feel this is probably one of the biggest checks. Once you get an account buying all 3 (followers, likes, and comments), it get's really hard to spot the bullshit. Check the comments, if they are along the lines of "Nice Shot!", "Awesome!", "Love that!", they're most likely fake. Ask yourself, when is the last time you commented like that on someone's post. Keep in mind also that bots will target hashtags to like/comment too. (please read app details below)
- Common sense: look at the profile, does it even look like it should have that much attention? Some profiles have really bad content - almost cringe worthy - If it's cringe worthy to you, chances are a lot of other people feel the same (unless you're weird, then skip this step)
There are so many different types of apps and softwares out there. Some will literally get bot accounts to follow you (an account that doesn't really post anything and just sit's there waiting for the owner to tell it to follow someone)
There are other apps out there that are actually pretty good at faking. Instead of getting bot accounts to like/comment. They will get real humans to comment what ever you want. In return the commenter/liker gets in-app currency which they can spend on doing the same
I know what you're thinking, this is real people commenting, so why is this bad? It's bad because it isn't organic at all. Instagram is made in a way that if you post a good photo/video, people will like it. People around those people will see the good photo/video on the explore page. Thus exposing the good post to more and more people. Eventually, a good post will generally have more likes and engagement. This app doesn't let us do that. People don't care what photo they're liking. They will like just for the in-app currency
The last type of software I would like to talk to you about is automation software. This doesn't fake engagement on your posts. It let's you fake engagement on other people's posts. You just have to choose the hashtags, preset the comments and click a button. The software will comment what ever you've chosen on all the photos that used that hashtag. This is why you see generic comments from big accounts when you use 30 of the biggest hashtags on your post.
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