How to Spot a Fake Follower on Instagram

Social media has made us all interconnected, even creating new career paths for many users.

But it's also sadly lowered self-esteem for some, especially for those who meticulously check their likes and follower count. Although social media is supposed to be fun, some will go to any length for likes, including buying followers and engagement. And even if you couldn't care less about how many likes your photo gets, you probably have at least a few bot accounts following you. How do you spot fake followers on Instagram? First, let's break down the types of fake followers. 

girl holding phone

(via Unsplash)

Let's begin with "finsta" accounts. A finsta is exactly what it sounds like, a fake Instagram account—but the difference between this and other fake accounts is that there's actually a real person on the other side. Finsta accounts are commonly used to follow or snoop on exes, significant others, former friends, or that cutie you have a crush on. Finstas are harmless, fun, and way safer then snooping on your own account, because heaven forbid you actually heart a photo and get caught. But even though they are a finsta, there is still a person looking at and maybe even engaging with content, although they may have little to no followers. Finstas tend to be regular, ordinary sounding handles like "@ashley_robertson_."

Finstas and new accounts are easy to get mixed up. New accounts and accounts for really small brands, like under 500 followers, are totally common. Just because a page has only a few followers or just several photos doesn't necessarily mean it's automatically a fake follower–every business and account needs to start somewhere!

Bot accounts are the totally fake ones with seemingly no purpose. Although harmless, bot accounts can be annoying because they leave spammy comments on your photos and at times send strange DMs. You might be thinking, but I don't buy followers, why would I have bots? Well, unfortunately, there are plenty of people who do buy followers and in order for those people to get the followers they purchase, "social media agencies" will create thousands of accounts and try and make them look real. And in order for them to look real, they need to follow a mix of celebs and everyday people, the everyday person being you. Bot accounts are pretty easy to spot, and we've rounded up the easiest ways to tell if a bot is following you below:

No Posts

If you click on a profile and you notice they are following a bunch of people, have little to no followers of their own and no posts, that means something is fishy.


Private Profiles

Many profiles are private, in fact yours might even be private. But a private profile in conjunction with the other points listed here is a pretty surefire way to tell that the account isn't legit.


Spammy Sounding Username

As of June 2018, there were over 1 billion active users on Instagram, which means it's not easy to get your first choice handle these days. That said, you can tell when something looks and sounds spammy like @like4likefreefollowers.


#Followback-type hashtags

There are other ways to tell if an account is a bot even if it has a semi-normal name, has a few posts and isn't private. One of them is spammy comments and lots of hashtags, like #follow4follow, #likeme, etc.


Accounts That Offer Audience-Growing Services

We've been seeing more and more accounts that slide into DMs saying things like, "your content is gorgeous, it deserves more likes! Let us help you grow your page." While notes like this can be flattering and exciting, be warned—these are bot agencies trying to lure you in.


While we're talking social media, HERE are some mysterious captions to make your crush curious!