Instagram has one of the largest user bases on social networks (it recently reached 1 billion), but it also has 95 million fake profiles, according to The Information, which published a study by the company Ghost Data. The result worries specialists consulted by the referred site, who remembered how the bots are being used to spread false news. Searched by TechTudo, Instagram said that "spam accounts represent a small monthly fraction" and explained how it works to solve the problem.
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According to the study released on Thursday (19), 9.5% of users are computer controlled. This number is higher than the result released by Ghost Data in 2015, when the platform housed 7.9% of bots, at a time when there were only 300,000 people connected.
Instagram has 9.5% fake profiles or bot according to Ghost Data study Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / TechTudo
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To reach this data, Ghost Data bought 20 thousand bots and, after analyzing them, searched for the same unique characteristics of these profiles in millions of accounts, present mainly among followers of celebrities.
Although the photo network has more than 1 billion users, about 95 million bots may be enough to change the outcome of an election, as suggested by The Information, recalling what happened in 2016, when Donald Trump became president of the United States after a lot of political propaganda and misinformation on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
According to University of Washington researcher Sam Woolley, who studies the impact of fake news on social media, Instagram could be the next tool used to spread misinformation. One reason for this conclusion is precisely the fact that the image and video are at the center of Instagram's attention and these features are able to capture the user's attention more quickly.
Fake Instagram profiles can be easily detected by looking at some attributes that are present in all of them, such as the small number of photos, for example. Other points detected that these images are always of other people, usually found on Google, and contain suspicious links in the description of your profile.
In response to TechTudo, Instagram claimed to take spam, non-authentic and abusive behavior very seriously: "We consider services that automate, sell likes or followers as spam, and we continually remove them from the platform. We carefully analyze suspicious activities and take advantage of them to understand how to help prevent similar activities in the future. Our internal estimates show that spam accounts represent a small monthly fraction of the active Instagram user base.
The company also guaranteed that it works to combat and prevent the proliferation of bots. Among the company's actions are "blocking accounts and removing infringing content at once".
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