I believe that Instagram is going through a major crisis. Fake followers, fake likes, fake comments and yes, fake advertising. I cannot help but noticing all those “big” and “famous” influencers who are taking photos at the exact same places, selling the-same-style dresses, promoting brands that do not sincerely interfere with their everyday life, etc. But that is the whole different story. Today, I would like to expose the cheaters!


By cheaters, I mean people who use the follow-unfollow game to gain followers. I have already been writing about this but the times have changed, the Instagram algorithm has changed, everything is different now. The third-party apps* which check for your unfollowers and non-followers are now forbidden (they were never allowed anyway but people using them were not getting deleted from Instagram before). So how come there are still so many people playing the game?


The Test

I have created myself another Instagram account in the name of this research and used a few of those programs. The problem is that they are programmed to act like humans. This makes it harder for Instagram to recognise people who are using them. I do not want to encourage you to use them. In the end, probably everybody regrets it anyway because a) using such programs is kind of expensive (I mean, you can buy better stuff with that money) and b) you might get new followers, but you do not get the engagement and this is what we all should want.

instagram, follow
If you get a follow from an account like that do not flatter yourself, they are probably going to unfollow you soon after you follow them back.


The Cheaters

The point of my story is, people who use such programs are going to unfollow you just a few hours or days after you follow them back. And, people who unfollow you once you follow them back are the ones who use those programs. They are the cheaters.


How Can You Recognise Them?

It depends on the program they are using but still, recognising them is pretty easy. The first option, they show up in your notifications with only a follow. No likes, no comment. The second one, a follow and one like of the most recent photo. Sure, they can set the program to like more photos with each follow but that would make it reach the hourly/daily limit of likes faster and follow fewer people. The last but not the least, a follow and a very generic comment. Something like “Great shot!” or a random emoji.

instagram, comments
Comments like this seem kind of fake, right?


What Can You Do About It?

You can assume they are going to unfollow you when you follow them back or you can try your luck! Some of the cheaters set their programs to unfollow only the people who did not follow back. That means if you follow them back, you can be lucky and gain a new long-term follower. Although, it is probably not going to be a very engagingly one.


My Personal Trick

What do I do? I check out their profile. If I like it, I follow them back, like a few photos and save one of them. If I get some likes back, that means the user is not a cheater and I can now unsave the photo. In scenario number two, they are cheating the Instagram system and they are probably going to unfollow me in the next couple of days. Once a week I go through my saved photos and manually check if those people I have saved photos of, are following me. If not, I have no hard feelings unfollowing them.

Not a typical travel blogger.


Please, Keep It Real

* Using third-party apps on Instagram is extremely forbidden. When you give out your username and password to another site or application, you are giving control of your account to someone else. They may then post duplicated, spam, or malicious updates and links, send unwanted messages, aggressively follow, or violate other rules with your account. Instagram can track users of such applications and delete their Instagram account without a warning. I used them on my second Instagram account just for the research.


Hopefully, you are now going to recognise cheaters easier. So how do you handle them? Do you even try your luck and follow them back? How do you like the little trick that I have shared with you? Let me know in the comments below. Also, you’re welcome to share this blog with your friends. If we stop following them back (or unfollow when they do), using those programs would not make any sense anymore.


Check out the photos from my trips on my Instagram page @daisydadee. Feel free to follow my blog to get a notification when I publish something new. You can find the subscribe button under the comment section if you are on your phone or on the right side of your computer screen.