According to a group of Italian security researchers roughly 8% of all Instagram accounts are actually fake. Not a huge shock and slightly lower than other social networks like Twitter from their research. The real question is if it truly matters or effects engagement on an individuals account, that is where their data shows real value.
After monitoring over 10 million Instagram accounts, including popular names such as Justin Bieber, the group was able to track engagement of each by how often they post as well as ratio following to followers. They also purchased 20,000 fake accounts for $100 to study overall behavior. Their data found that these spam bots, or fake accounts, even engage by posting up to 6 photos/videos though the best hint was the following to followers ratio. Real people on average follow one person for each person that follows them while spam accounts follow over 40 users for each follower.
Instagram claims to have over 300 million active users sign into the app each month without counting fake or inactive members in those figures. Though IG is doing what they can to combat these fake or inactive accounts by purging them from the system from time to time. As a result in my case I lost just over 2,000 followers in the last purge which honestly didnt matter to me as if those accounts were not contributing to my overall engagement then why would I care to have them or not?
Instagram is continuing to grow into a behemoth of a social network and as many cases before them spam accounts will become part of someone's process to make money from the application. Until then I am glad to see IG fight this issue and bring numbers to the forefront that reflect true followers and engagement rather than inflate where they can.
[via Business Insider]