Spambots: Does the Number of Your Followers Reflect Their Engagement?

You can’t help but admit that it is satisfying to open up your phone and see the Instagram notification alert you of how many more likes or followers you gained. What if you could get hundreds, even thousands of those for just a few dollars! Is it worth it?


Instagram “bots” are spam accounts that can like, follow, and comment on posts automatically.

Why do people use bots? In the world of social media, surface area is really all that matters. If someone sees a lot of followers or likes, they will instinctively see the page as popular, and even more reputable. This is done in hopes of gaining more traffic from “actual” people.

A recent Instagram user published his account of trying the spambot services on Hootsuite. He set up his account to automatically follow people that typed certain hashtags, and comment on them as well. The end result was a ruined newsfeed from following thousands of users, most of them being spam, going against Instagram’s terms of service, and that followers do not equal engagement.  

It is easy to see when accounts use or pay for these automated bot services. The bots themselves tend to have a follower:following ratio of 1:41. Accounts whose followers comprise mainly of the bots will have thousands of followers, but only one to two hundred likes.

Instagram works hard to keep track of and remove the spam bots from their platform. Referred to as the “Instagram Rapture,” in 2014 resulted in millions of accounts being removed that were deemed as spam. Famous users such as Justin Bieber lost over 3 million followers as a result. While the popular application has made it a goal to get rid of these them, the creators behind these bots are making them increasingly more complex and realistic.

In an interview with Motherboard Vice, Rantic, a social media bot farm claims to know Instagram’s algorithm and how they work to get rid of bots. He has cut down the amount of bots he makes per day, from 150,000 to 50,000, but they are much more complex and realistic. Just how to they do this? We have no idea. A true magician never reveals their secrets!