Something I think about fairly regularly is this:
Instagram is worth more than a hundred billion dollars. Do you really think that they are incapable of detecting automation? I predict that they were probably able to accurately detect it years ago. Google was worth around the same amount when they released PANDA.
My theory is that Instagram has allowed automation to continue for their own benefit. It makes a lot of sense to me if I think about an average instagrammer who spends hours on the app posting and reposting hashtags in the comment sections of their posts… similarly; people spend hours following and unfollowing celebrities because they get followers from doing so, and so on. They’re doing this because they’re addicted to vanity metrics. These instagrammers, for a long time, didn’t know that the real reason they were getting followers is that they were being targeted by bots. I had even heard speculation once that - and I quote - “crazy Justin Bieber fans loved him so much that they regularly checked his new followers and followed them.” I even remember a personal friend of mine showing me this celebrity follow method before either of us knew automation existed.
What does instagram want more than anything? They want people to spend as much time as possible on their application. The lengths to which they’ve already gone to achieve worldwide addiction are quite detestable. I find myself questioning whether what I’m doing is good for the world daily. Bottom line? People getting likes when they use hashtags and follow celebrity instagrammers makes them more addicted to instagram. This can’t happen without automation.
So what changed recently?
Pretty much every single person under the sun started reporting on and blogging about about fake instagram followers and automation, as well as things like celebrity real follower percentage etc. What caused the outbreak of news is irrelevant. The point is that it happened. Everybody started talking about it. And then they started complaining. I don’t blame them. Realizing that a lot of your followers aren’t genuinely interested in you must be seriously disappointing if you’re an aspiring young influencer. It’s practically real-time disappointment for people checking their notifications every two minutes.
Instagram had to address the issue, but they’re smarter than getting rid of it altogether. They know that people like us don’t make their user experience more authentically enjoyable, but more addictive - and that has and always will be their primary goal. It also allows them to make their feed extremely specific and relevant to each user without completely eradicating engagement to zero.
So my point is that Instagram is probably more than capable of utterly destroying us, but they choose not to because it benefits them having us around. Given the recent media outburst on automation, they probably just want to get rid of the absolute trash profiles which diminish the user experience, and force us to up our game so that our contribution is even more valuable to them.
Why is that important to think about? It means that all we need to do to stay in business is make sure we are always pushing ourselves to appear as human as possible in our automatic engagement. That’s probably all they actually want us to do. All conceivable limitations they place on us are nothing more than them optimizing their application’s performance and taking out the trash.