Instagram has shut down the very popular Bot service Instagress which was used by many to grow their Instagram following.
The service allowed users to auto comment, auto follow and unfollow and auto like photos with the aim of calling attention to the user and getting follow backs. It’s not organic and is automated engagement which seemingly violates Instagram’s terms of service.
Visitors to the site were greeted with the message today:
Sad news to all of you who fell in love with Instagress: by request of Instagram we were forced to close our web-service that helped you so much in your Instagram journey. We are all very sad of that but it looks like there is nothing we can do at the moment 😞Please, login into your Instagress account to request a refund.
A 2015 research study estimates that about 8% of all Instagram accounts were likely automated spam accounts, and that hundreds of third-party services sold fake followers or fraudulent activity on the platform.
It’s pretty safe to say that each social media platform will inevitably experience services built on top of it to help users navigate changes, game them and max their benefits via automation or networks.
But Instagress was different in that it was automation of real people on real people’s pages thus the appeal.
Business Insider spotted a recent post on PetaPixel where a photographer named Calder Wilson described how he used Instagress for two years to like thousands of photos and make thousands of comments per month.
“In an environment where we equate more likes and followers with better photos and better photographers, for many think it’s a no-brainer to bot their account,” he wrote.
The news left some in social media who disliked the faux engagement happy.
Pretty pumped that @instagram shut down Instagress. Guess we’ll be seeing less auto comments.
— Mikhail Alfon (@miqk) April 20, 2017
— TheMiddleAgedMan (@middleagedman86) April 20, 2017
One Twitter user suggested other services that may be subject to being cut too:
Others speculated that the news may mean Instagram will soon start gunning for Instagram pods and networks, where users with similar content comment and like each others posts. Instagram pods work to trick Instagram’s algorithms in assigning a higher value to the content and to push it through to more feeds. Also, the engagement looks good to potential brand sponsors who will assume it is organic and a reflection of the Instagrammer as a quality influencer.
Instagram engagement pods/ groups everywhere are shrieking as they find out instagress has just shut down
— Greg Baroth (@gbaroth) April 20, 2017
There is always dips in engagement but no one knows yet for sure if any of the constant changes to the social media site are the root cause or not. Time will tell whether today’s announcement will mean anything to other Instagram gamers.