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Instagram comments lure users to scam, says site | Social networks

Fake accounts trying to apply pornography scams are proliferating on Instagram. They are called porn bots and seek visibility in celebrity profiles with suggestive comments and the promise of close encounters. The goal is to attract victims to a compromised site by clicking on the bio link. Engadget reports that these virtual robots are becoming increasingly sophisticated and causing problems for the platform's antispam tools. According to a report from the Instascreener analytics firm, it is estimated that the social network has over 150 million active fake profiles in July.

READ: What bot? Get to know the robots that are 'dominating' the Internet

In response to Engadget, Facebook said it blocks millions of accounts already in the registration process and has enhanced its systems with machine learning to more easily identify fakes. On the other hand, the publication suggests that bots are rapidly adapting and fleeing the siege.

Pornographic Bots Spread on Instagram Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / dnetcPornographic Bots Spread on Instagram Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / dnetc

Pornographic Bots Spread on Instagram Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / dnetc

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According to Instascreener founder Engadget, it is relatively easy to create an automated system that monitors famous Instagram accounts to know when to post a comment. Criminals often own a large network of bots that quickly comment on the second a new celebrity post is published. At the same time, other bots like the comment to increase their visibility.

Texts often bring pornographic language, which helps attract real-life likes too, either because they are attracted to the content or because they find the phrase funny. Messages with similar material can also arrive in authentic users via Direct.

The goal is to get users to access the bot profile and follow the instructions to supposedly make an appointment, watch a private show via the Internet or join sex groups. In general, fake accounts offer everything for free and use tools like Linktree and Bit.ly to distribute the dangerous links in fraudulent profile bios. The bots use external services to avoid being discovered by Instagram.

The spamming of sexual comments on posts has already caught the attention of famous. Chrissy Teigen, model and American influencer, criticized Instagram's lack of reaction after a fan of Twitter posted a print of the spam in the comment section of one of the celebrity's posts.

Facebook has told Engadget that it is stepping up measures to identify and ban fake Instagram accounts. However, a report by the security firm Tenable, published in July, points out that porn bots have adopted techniques to circumvent surveillance. Some solutions may sound curious: one of them uses phrases from the book that originated the TV series Game of Thrones in public subtitles.

Button accounts are passed by an authentic user publishing at least three photos in the feed, with random captions, such as quotes from The Count of Monte Cristo, a classic of French literature. According to the company, the idea seems as much as possible a real person not to turn on the fake profile alert of the social network overproduced photos would be more susceptible to discovery.

In addition, buttons have used spacing tricks and misspellings to escape comment filters. Since 2016, Instagram lets you block comments with certain user-defined keywords. However, the feature is not smart enough to identify variations of unwanted terms when there is writing error.

Bots impersonate authentic users on Instagram Photo: Carolina Oliveira / dnetcBots impersonate authentic users on Instagram Photo: Carolina Oliveira / dnetc

Bots impersonate authentic users on Instagram Photo: Carolina Oliveira / dnetc

The simplest way to stay safe is to open profiles with pornographic content on Instagram, let alone click on links from the bio. In general, accounts with pornographic material present dangers. Also, it's important to keep your account private to avoid receiving bot messages and refusing suspicious chat invitations.

From an influencer profile standpoint, it is essential to encourage followers not to interact with bot comments. Thus, they lose visibility in the posts and, as a consequence, tend to attract less victims. In addition, it is worth exploring further the offensive comment blocking feature by entering variations of misspelled keywords.

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