Dipping a toe in the world of Instagram fakes
I have had an instagram account for more than 2 and a half years but never used it. Posted a photo initially, deleted the app and never looked back, until two days ago when I started posting my two Himalayan bike trip photos there. The app is good to look at, is nicely designed [obligatory preach about how design is not about how the product looks but rather the way it functions], and blends in with the customs of other iphone apps, so naturally I went over to my ipad to install it. The atrocity of iphone-only stared at me. Perplexed, I started to search for a third-party client and as is always the case with the ios appstore search, the impending doom of spamy/knockoffy things awaited.
Hundreds of apps with taglines promising thousands of followers popped up.
One and a half days later I decided to check it out as a fun experiment and downloaded the third top result(the one that had best ratings in the top five results on the app-store for “instagram followers” and reviews like “I don’t know how they do it but this totally works” and “I wanted to give ten stars but I can give only five”) on my iphone.
I decided to play with it for half an hour and then delete it.
To say I was skeptical would definitely be an understatement. I was hoping it to be an avarice in-app purchase sink to buy followers and likes. Surprisingly, the free tier was quite honest and effective.
The way it works is you like and/or follow the accounts they show you on screen and for each like or follow you get five coins. And then you can use those coins to increase your own followers and likes. It’s like a modern, computer powered, international barter system for useless comodities.
So I created a fake account on instagram and ploughed through. Just a quick sidepoint, judging by how simple it is to create a new account i.e without any email verification and the fact that instagram allows these types of apps access to its service, I strongly believe it’s not an oversight on the part of their management but a deliberate choice to cater to the likes and subscribers crazed users. Anyways, back to the scum of the app world. Actually using the app revealed an astonishing fact. They are not as greedy as I initially presumed. Instead of individually having to click on each follow/like button, they provide an “auto” option. You just hit it and the app automatically does the job for you as you watch your coins increase in number and contemplate the depths of stupidity of this part of the world.
Within a span of half an hour, my followers increased from 77 to 312 and the number of likes on each of my ten photos went from single digits to higher doubles and triples.
Now, I have never been much after likes and follows, and that may be the reason why I didn’t get the rush from seeing those elevated numbers but even for those who do get a high from these type of metrics, is it there when you know it is fake?
Some may argue that some “social media influencers” need to have high amounts of numbers to stay relevant in the game. To them I say, you sir/madam are naive. Any client, before giving them work could quickly browse through the types of accounts following the influencer, marvel at the disproportionately high number of likes to comments and identify the chicanery at work.
So in conclusion, was it worth for me to waste half an hour, reside random fake accounts in my follow list forever, and suspiciously high amount of likes on my ten photos?
In a word, yes.
This will be a constant(more like sporadic) reminder that instagram like other social media platforms is a scummy place until and unless you silo yourself around good accounts, although it might come at a cost of an echo chamber and cheer-pressure.