Fake Views Are No Fake News: Instagram Cracks Down on Spammy Stories Views

It sure seems like the Russians are making everything on the internet untrustworthy. The 2016 US presidential election added phrases like “fake news” and “troll farms” to the lexicon. Since then, the whole world seems to be feeling the fallout as social media platforms continue to be exploited for political gain.

The latest example? Instagram has announced they are cracking down on fake Instagram Stories Views. In their announcement, Instagram explained that their crackdown on inauthentic activity was intended to prevent third-party apps from artificially boosting users’ audiences. However, the underlying issue runs deeper than inflated likes. Here’s what you need to know about fake Instragram Stories views.

What Are Fake Stories Views and Why Do They Exist?

It turns out that viewing Instagram stories does more than just boost the makers of stories. Following a rash of fake followers were removed from Instagram’s ranks back in late 2018, fake accounts have had to go to greater lengths to create the illusion of authenticity.

So what came next? Fake accounts are primarily are third-party growth apps and Russian troll farms. These have begun imitating the activities of real accounts by liking the Instagram stories of random users. This activity benefits fake accounts in two key ways. First, the activity disguises fake accounts as real ones. Previous algorithms used to detect bogus accounts flagged those that never passively engaged with user content. Second, this passive engagement helps fake accounts grow their followers lists, which in turn further cloaks them from Instagram’s algorithms.

What is Instagram Doing About This Activity?

Instagram has identified this behavior and begun to update their detection algorithms accordingly. Beyond this, the social media juggernaut has remained discreet with the details, in an effort to prevent fake accounts from developing an effective work-around. Unfortunately, the sheer size and reach of these platforms have turned efforts like this into a game of whack-a-mole. As soon as one phishing technique is stamped back down, two more are developed in its place.

Why Are Fakes a Problem?

Social media has become a lucrative and influential platform for marketing and profitability. Many influencers have developed innovative and effective ways to use social media profitably. They do this by marketing their reach to attract advertisers and sponsors.

Influencers need to have as many followers as possible to attract to those sponsors. This is why many people use third-party apps to grow their followers list. With a fraudulently high follower count, people can profit by generating content without actually having the influence they claim.

Social Media Marketing the Right Way

As well as removing these fake accounts, Instagram will also be removing their likes, comments, Instagram Stories views counts. This will affect Instagram users who have paid to inflate their follower counts.

This proves that fraudulently inflating your social media reach is not a sustainable method of profiting off of these platforms. The right way forward is to generate entertaining, informative, and engaging content. You can’t fake providing a good or service of value to your followers. At Pure SEO, we specialise in helping small and medium-sized businesses expand their social media reach with Instagram and Facebook advertising. Contact us today to learn more!

Rollan Schott

Rollan Schott is a copywriter with Pure SEO. Rollan was born and raised in the United States, having moved to New Zealand after 4 years teaching and writing in Asia. When he's not churning out quality content at breakneck speed, Rollan is probably busy writing the next great American novel. He may also be idly watching true crime documentaries in his Auckland Central apartment with his wife, Lauren. The latter is more likely than the former.

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