Instagram Ban Wave: Banning Bots and Real Accounts

Instagram is banning accounts all over the place. Many of you probably noticed that Instagram’s ban-waves hit the shores hard. Hitting bots and real followers alike. Here is what we know so far:

Why Is Instagram Banning Accounts?

Instagram is banning accounts left and right to increase authenticity. Since its introduction in 2010, Instagram has changed its algorithm multiple times to adjust to fake profiles and inauthentic activity. 

But 2019 brought some radical changes. You could say that the platform was overrun by bots and fake activity. We all know them. Those users without profile pictures, 0 followers and who are following 3k users. 

Instagram wants to bring back the “social” to social media. It wants to get rid of fake followers, likes and comments. 

fake instagram comments

This ban wave targets fake activity and is not to be compared with Instagram’s shadowban, which essentially bans your posts from the hashtag section.

Who Is Targeted by Instagram’s Bans?

Instagram’s algorithm is filtering out strange and spammy behavior. This includes:

  • Liking excessively (on posts or comments)
  • Commenting on too many posts 
  • Following way too many users in a short period of time
  • Unfollowing many users at once
  • Posting too much in a short period of time
instagram action blocked

The secret is not to exaggerate. You won’t get into trouble for liking all the photos when scrolling through your feed. But liking hundreds of photos of your competitors’ followers, to draw their attention to you, might get you action blocked and your account flagged. As long as you use Instagram as you are supposed to, you don’t have to worry.

But many influencers and businesses bet on automation. They use bots for follow/unfollow, liking and sending DMs. And that’s exactly what Instagram wants to stop. Although we think that bots worsen the user experience on Instagram, they can be useful for marketers, businesses and influencers to grow and improve their social media presence. 

Here is a list of factors that can get your account flagged when using bots:

  • Accessing the Instagram API
  • Using the same IP for different accounts
  • Using the same link in different profile descriptions
  • Mass actions (see list above)

What are the effects of Instagram’s Ban Wave?

The bans already changed the #instalife of many users. But did Instagram fail in its mission to clean the platform and improve the user experience?

Here are the positive effects:

Less spam

Since there are less bot accounts, normal users receive less spam massages in their DMs.

Less fake followers

This is especially important for those of you, who care about their engagement rate. It used to be (and still is) hard to get rid of fake followers (ghost followers). Less fake followers lead to a higher engagement rate. High engagement leads your posts to the explore page. Here are 10 tips to easily increase your engagement without worrying about fake followers.

More authenticity

Since fake followers, likes and comments are slowly getting removed, it is easier for marketers to collaborate with influencers. Those influencers, who relied on fake followers and likes, are now exposed and marketers are having an easier time spotting the “black sheep”.

It’s harder than ever to “fake it till you make it”. Content is getting far more important because it is the only way to reach an engaged audience.  Stay original and transparent.

instagram removing likes

We know that Instagram has made some strange moves in the past and it’s not getting better with this ban wave. Here are the negative consequences:

Real people are getting banned

Instagram’s algorithm is able to identify bot-like behavior, but still not capable of differentiating between a bot and a real person. Many users reported that they got banned or action blocked for simply liking the posts in their feed. Many posts are getting removed for no apparent reason and therefore accounts get flagged. It can be a real struggle to get your account back. 

Marketers are having a harder time

Marketers, who manage multiple accounts of different companies, are getting more and more trouble. The accounts they manage get flagged because the marketer usually accesses multiple accounts via one IP. Another problem is that Instagram, if it detects that an account is used by different IP’s (the owners and the marketers), sometimes requires verification. Imagine you manage 10 accounts and have to verify every single login. It can get very time consuming. 

My Instagram Account was Deactivated: What to do?

In case your account got disabled for no apparent reason, it can get unbelievably hard to get it back. In most cases you aren’t even getting the option to report the mistake via the app. Here is the link to Instagram’s Help Center, where you only have to enter your information and the reason for your appeal. Sending that appeal multiple times won’t hurt.

Instagram Is Trying

Instagram is really tackling the problems of its platform. But there are still many bot accounts to be removed. Moreover, the algorithm needs to get smarter in order to differentiate between real and fake. Other problems on Instagram remain. The report and complaint system isn’t working at all and many fear that Instagram will follow Facebook’s monetization path.
Let’s hope 2020 will bring improvements to the platform.

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