As Instagram grows in the social media limelight, social media bots also increase as used by influencers, companies, and individuals who wish to grow their following counts at any cost.
Having bots on your Instagram account comes with quite a measure of negative effects, including a bad reputation for your brand, and affecting your engagement metrics.
Hence it is a smart choice to get rid of bots either manually or automatically.
So, if you are wondering how to get rid of bots on Instagram, read on because, in this article, we shall look at manual and automatic ways of getting rid of bots on Instagram.
Quick answer; you can get rid of bots manually by blocking and removing them, or automatically by using Instagram’s built-in filters.
Before we explore these options, here is a brief description of bots; what characterizes bots; and why it is important for you to get rid of them.
What are bots?
Bots are fake accounts designed to grow someone’s follower count, they can have fake follows, likes, comments, and even direct messages (DM)! All this to increase followers. These can be mass accounts or just suspicious accounts.
Bots can be used intentionally by influencers, individuals, or marketing companies, but also, some users may unknowingly accept bots and their activities.
This is why it is important to know what may characterize bots and fake accounts to help you recognize them.
How can you recognize bot accounts?
Before taking action against, or on a bot account, you may want to be certain by identifying particular aspects that typically characterize bot accounts. Here are indicators of a bot account:
Unusual username; A bot account username will be typically a mix of numbers and letters, and sometimes very hard to make sense of the username.
Some bot accounts actually use real celebrity names with bits of modifications for example adding a number to it.
Uneven distribution of numbers of followers and following; typically bot accounts will have a big number of people or users they are following, but a much smaller number of users following them. There is an evident disproportion in the numbers – a high following-to-follower ratio.
Automatic comments on posts; with bot accounts, you will receive an automatic message in your DM the moment you follow them. Or an automatic comment on your post; it comes seconds after posting.
The comments may be generic and unrelated or irrelevant to the post.
Absence of posts and/or profile picture; bot accounts rarely make any posts, so you will see an account with so many people the user is following, some followers, and 0 posts or 1 post.
Incomplete and inconsistent profile information; it is common to see no description in the profile bio of bot accounts. The profile information will be incomplete, it may have no bio description
Other indicators may include uneven distribution of likes, no comments on posts – if they are there at all, and low-quality content.
Why get rid of bots on Instagram?
To keep your target audience, to avoid damaging your credibility, or even avoid getting banned from Instagram, it is important to make an effort and a deliberate move to get rid of bots on Instagram.
Here is what bots can result in, and that’s reason enough for you to get rid of them.
They affect content visibility and engagement
Your posts have a higher chance of showing up in users’ feeds if they attract interaction. Bots do not genuinely interact with your content hence they can affect the engagement metrics, lowering your content’s display in the feed, thereby affecting visibility.
Imagine having so many followers but little or no engagement from these followers! Not a good sight.
They can lead to punishment
When Instagram detects this fraudulent activity, they may first warn you, or you may get banned from using the platform.
They can damage your reputation
It wouldn’t be nice if your genuine followers noticed spam and unauthentic messages or comments and behavior on your account, this can lead to loss of trust and eventually, loss of genuine following as they may start to unfollow you.
Because of these and more, it is important to get rid of bots. But how?
How can you get rid of bots on Instagram?
Well, seeing that bots are quite annoying and do more harm than good, you may urgently want to deal with them, and preferably for good.
Instagram takes users’ security and privacy seriously, though it does not yet have an anti-bot measure that can rid you of bots once and for all.
The great news is that there is something you can do to get rid of these annoying fakes.
Here are some manual and automatic measures you can take:
How to get rid of bots on Instagram manually
1. Identify the bots
You should start by searching through your followers and users you are following, and in reference to the above indicators identify the bot accounts.
This should be easy, bots are quite easy to identify when you pay attention to the characteristics.
You can also go through your posts to identify automatic replies or responses that are unusual, like those that come with links.
2. Remove the bot accounts
After identifying bots in your lists of followers and people you follow, you can go ahead and remove them from the list.
To do this;
You simply open the Instagram app and on your profile page tap on the Followers icon.
Check through the list and remove the identified bots by tapping on remove next to the account.
Tap on Remove Follower and complete the process on the next page.
Instagram arranges your followers in the order of their following, so if a bot account followed you recently, it will appear at the top of the list.
Removing bot accounts does not stop them from following you again if they choose to, but the next step will.
3. Block the bot accounts
The most permanent way to manually get rid of bots is to block them. Since you have already recognized them in step one above, you can go ahead and block them.
To do this;
Go to your Instagram, tap on the suspected bot from your followers, and follow or follow requests to open their profile.
You then tap on the three-dot line in the top right corner of your screen to get a menu.
Tap Block. Complete the blocking process on the next page.
By blocking the bot account, you have gotten rid of it completely, there’s no way the same bot will bother you again. But it may bother other users on Instagram.
To help avoid this, you can proceed to the next step
4. Report the bot account
You can report the bot account to Instagram. With this, Instagram will immediately launch an investigation on the account and if proven a bot, the account will be banned and it will not bother anybody again.
To report a bot account;
Launch the Instagram app and go to the profile of the bot account
Tap on the three-dot line in the top right corner of the account profile. This should give you a menu
Tap on Report and follow the instructions
Instagram will be interested in knowing why you want to report the account. You can tap on other things to get a list of possible reasons for reporting an account.
State your reason (select it’s spam) and proceed. You will get a notification about the receipt of your report, and an investigation into the account will start immediately.
How to get rid of bots on Instagram automatically
1. Using built-in filters
Instagram has built-in spam filters that you can use to reduce spam bot activities on your account.
To use these filters;
On your profile page, you can go to Settings by tapping the three-line icon in the top right corner.
Tap the Settings and Privacy option from the menu
Scroll through to find ‘Hidden words’ and tap on it. Then tap Continue
This will give you several actions you can take to filter comments and messages.
Here, you can;
Hide comments to make sure that comments that may be offensive will be automatically hidden
Switch on the Advanced comment filtering option to ensure that you filter out more additional possibly offensive content.
Or even filter words or phrases that bots may commonly use.
To add the words;
Scroll down to custom words and phrases, and tap on manage custom words and phrases
Type your words in the bar and tap Add to create your list.
After creating your list, you can go back and choose whether you want to ‘hide comments’ or ‘hide message requests’ or both, containing the added keywords.
With this option, however, content from people you follow will not be hidden, even from those who follow you.
Also, some bot comments or messages may slip through this setting, so you might need to manually review comments and messages to check bot activity
You can not have spam comments deleted automatically.
In addition, this option may not permanently get rid of bots as some of them may not actually use the keywords listed or be filtered by your settings.
Why are bots used?
Companies, individuals, or influencers use bots for various reasons, here are some of the motivation factors behind the use of bots.
To increase the size of followers, many influencers buy fake accounts, then their following size will be bigger than it actually is. The high following count creates an impression of popularity and can attract more genuine followers, hence those that use bots do so to inflate the following count.
For increased sales and/or visibility, companies use bots because they generate likes, comments, and shares which can make the content more popular.
To manipulate and influence users, some people use bots to fake discussions and manipulate trends and public opinion which then persuades users to follow those opinions or trends.
These among other reasons influence the use of bots. But as already seen, bots can be quite harmful and may not be to your advantage in the long run.
What is the difference between bots and dead accounts?
Bots are accounts designed specifically and purposely to increase the follower count of a particular Instagram account.
They therefore perform certain tasks to do just that; they follow other users, like their posts or even comment, unfollow users after a while, etc.
They aim to build an audience for a brand, or even an individual account.
Dead accounts on the other hand are just inactive accounts because they have not been in use for quite a while. On these, you will not find activity for a while, and some are entirely abandoned.
Simply put, bots are fake accounts while dead accounts are genuine accounts that have not been used for a while.
Whether used intentionally or unknowingly, bots are such a threat to your account, your brand, and your reputation among other aspects.
So whether they follow you or you follow them, bot accounts are not something you want to identify with.
You should therefore take a step to get rid of them. You can do this by removing them from your follow and following list, blocking them, reporting them, or using Instagram’s built-in filters.
Then you can enjoy your Instagram life safely, but guiltless and faultless!