7 Ways to Spot Fake Followers on Instagram

When Instagram model Essena O’Neill spoke out last week, it gave others the chance to show the truth behind the image, something that is considered a taboo. This is how you can spot paid followers on Instagram.

When more girls and women are able to decipher the real from the fabricated, we can all begin to empower each other rather than compete for online fame.

1. Most picture comments are extremely similar.


The first time I noticed this, I was commenting on someone’s Instagram and saw that the word gorgeous was spelled “gergoues” by one of her followers. I then noticed that, on the same picture, two other people had made the same spelling error.

This occurred in all of her pictures. Not only that, but the bought followers also used the same emojis in exactly the same order from wording to capitalization. It is normal to share a particular feeling about a picture, but the fact that the responses are so robotic is creepy to say the least.

2. The followers’ pages do not make sense.

After the “gergeoues” incident, I decided to click on the followers commenting and noticed another thing they all had in common: their pages did not add up. Either the followers’ Instagram pages had no profile image or the names soundede like a cat had run across the keyboard. One person’s name literally ended in “fghjkkjafsl.”

You will also sometimes see a page that has two images, thousands of followers yet no real fame or image of a single person. And no, this is not a photography page.

3. The followers are often extremely young.

The young followers are real and usually from 10 to 12 years old. However, they are in what many call “the like farm.” It’s a system in which those hungry for likes play a game from different Instagram apps and, in turn, get likes on their own pages.

What is this game you ask? The game is liking other people’s posts. Yep, you read that right. So, basically there are young kids who spend hours on the phone liking other people’s pictures in order to get likes back. It is a tit-for-tat sort of thing, like a lottery where everyone wins fake likes and followers. This, to me, is the saddest fact.

4. They use a lot of emojis and rarely any wording.


Now, we are all guilty of this. What makes this weird is the way fake followers all use the same emoji and lettering at the same time.

The emojis used are also out of context. For example, the emojis below would be appropriate for a picture of a sexy man or woman, but they’re actually responses for a bowl of fruit. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think fruit bowls are sexy—healthy perhaps, but not sexy.

5. The person who bought the followers’ Instagram accounts gets “hacked” often.

Unlike a few years ago when Facebooks accounts were often hacked due to logging in from different devices, Instagram accounts are not as easily hacked. When a person is always getting hacked on Instagram, it is because their account is connected to apps that increase your likes and followers.

These apps are constantly being hacked because the person’s credit card information is linked to their Instagram account. Hackers want the credit card information, not your Instagram. If an Instagram account is constantly being hacked, it is because it is connected to some sort of payment method on a third party application.

6. The ratio of followers and follows doesn’t add up.

This is the most obvious one and unless someone is influential or somewhat famous, there is no reason why they should have 150k followers when they are only following 400 people.

7. The person has a private profile with no tags yet continues to gain followers.


With Instagram, the best way to be seen is to tag people/businesses or hashtag trending phrases. Even famous people use the tagging method to get more likes and followers. If the person doesn’t do any of this though, it’s usually a clear indication that it’s a paid follower.

Now, of course, there are things that we do on Instagram that are extremely similar to what I just pointed out above. We all sometimes misspell words and use emojis rather than words. Some people have been hacked randomly and some do have influence on the online community.

It is the combination of more than one of the above facts though that makes it obvious that the followers are not genuine. In order to break the illusion that social media has created, it is important that we are not afraid to openly discuss internet taboos.

About the author

Ana J. Urena

Ana is a writer, singer & painter from NYC. She has an equal love of music, horror movies, travel, fitness, skin care & video games. Ana's life motto is,
"Learn to love the rain, not because the sun shines after, but because it simply is."

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