Instagram bots

When I started using the excellent app from vsco to edit photos on my iPhone, I noticed that my posts on Instagram were liked by a significantly larger number of users, usually by people I don’t know.

IMG_3051The thing is that these likes were appearing a little too automatically, and a little too soon after the image was uploaded. I also tried uploading a black square, and I still got a couple of likes within seconds.

After some digging, it turns out that there’s a whole bunch of Instagram bots out there, that users can set up to automatically like images tagged with popular tags (and clearly #vsco is one of them). The theory is that randomly liking images will get you more followers. Given the number of followers that these people have, it might also be true.

While it looks like nobody is hurting anybody in this game, it’s yet another example of stupid behaviour triggered by the quantitive approach to social media.