As a photographer Instagram is pretty much over as a platform for me, there is very little content on there now I would call "photographic" other than a few accounts I follow, but those are shown out of order and with ads mixed in-between. The explore page has become a mass of memes, "viral" videos, half naked women, spam, reposts from reddit, reposts of other reposts, and so on. I can see the same content multiple times on the explore page, reposted over and over. I recently unfollowed most of the accounts to put an end to the "such and such liked this so we will show it to you" as well.
And of course, as per the article, you have a massive amount of accounts that are liking and following to try to get followers in return. Some of these are more obvious than others. If you use Tinder you'll have seen an increasing trend of matches wanting you to follow them on Instagram, because they want to up their follower count.
All that said, I'm guilty of this too. I have a personal Instagram account that I do very little with, but also an account for the gallery I volunteer at to try to spread the word to people in the area - I have a script that will like + follow anyone that posts to Instagram with tags and/or a location in the village. This script has been running once a day for about 6 months, and I believe it has brought some people into the gallery.
I also run an events page on Instagram with a script that will like + follow any content tagged with various programming related keywords. Looking at some of the accounts it's followed (or have followed us back) it's bizarre - you can see accounts in which the content is just someone posting images of their laptop once a day and they have follower counts in the tens of thousands.
Anyway, it feels as if Instagram is at a tipping point. It's no longer a platform for photography but now a platform for driving traffic to other businesses. I'd give it another year or two before it collapses in on itself or they do a root and branch purge of all the spam, which probably won't happen as long as it is driving revenue to Instagram/Facebook itself.
FB started as a network for college students. Then once it expanded to the general public it turned into a gold rush of businesses trying to grab attention. FB slowly turned into the AOL of its day--a captive portal where people largely ignored the rest of the web. Why check the news on a publisher's site when I can just scan headlines while waiting for my friends' updates?
I remember a time before every website decided they needed a Twitter/Facebook button, before coffee cups were plastered with those app icons next to the store's brand. The whole thing seemed strange and desperate as it was happening.
Now the lag between "cool new social medium" to "spam/meme repository" is fast enough that I don't even have to bother. Anything fun and user-focused on the web ends up getting bought and repurposed to serve ads.
21st century Tulip Mania.
I would like to see a paid social network with zero tolerance for programmatic interaction. Maybe tied to a (non voip) phone to make the cost of shill accounts high. I do feel there is a chance to unseat the major sites right now, it just requires a site that provides meaningful interaction instead of ads and corporate interest.
IG/FB very much actively encourages (with their newsfeed algorithms, and to an extent also the UI) 'influencer'-type accounts over individual communication. Twitter imo is significantly less bad about this.
They still haven't implemented threading and free third party native clients.
Free the game instead of enshrining the players.
Closed social network platforms and protocols exhausterbated consolidation. They disallow competition. The market is hostile. The market will not standardize, and actively worked against it (RSS).
Open the protocols. Let the kid down the street compete with Facebook again.
Let me pay $5/mo for a small player in Norway to host a custom Whateverstadon with strict peering rules. Let DNS be the registry.
Please tell me you used this word on purpose.
Is the perfect word for how a man or a woman feels after browsing Facebook/Twitter/Reddit!
Agreed. A couple years ago, I set my parents, wife’s parents, and a few others up with Raspberry Pis
I manage their setups with Ansible
They have syncthing and we can put photos on our local Pi using SMB apps on our phones
We can browse to them and view our latest adventures through a minimal HTML/CSS/JS viewer I borrowed from github
These services are a joke. Building huge data centers doesn’t serve users. It services their analytics/ad business
The IT world has lost a lot of credibility with me for supporting this nonsense. Bad craftsmanship, self aggrandizement rhetoric, gregarious antics... fuck off
Emotional capture of 20-something grads with notions of being the next Bezos or Gates
Most will end up cube workers like their buddies that went to business school: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16946951
But after watching them use these platforms, it seemed to me that it's all just churn of useless junk. Even Youtube has degraded considerably. Maybe someday someone will figure out how to achieve the apparently conflicting goals of wide adoption, quality content, civil interactions, and monetization.
I don't want that spam in my image comments (considering there would only be 1 or 2 comments from real people and 10+ of these). I had to go through and manually delete them, block the users (achieving nothing because there are so many of these spammers).
This is a serious UX problem that has turned me away from Instagram (which was the "best social media" platform before they destroyed the chronologic timeline). I don't care if people are using an API to post legitimate content (I would have loved the ability to post content to multiple sites at once (twitter, IG, ...)). I care when the API enables annoying spammers.
As the article states, visibility and 'fame' on Instagram is directly related to Like-count and follower numbers. And for many photographers that visibility leads to work.
So if they have to permit their account to be botted to give Likes to other accounts but receive similar benefit in return, they do so.
This is all a numbers game: there's a finite amount of attention-slots in people's minds that everyone wants their content to fit in. Any engine that surfaces unsolicited content will have this issue, from paid ads to algorithmic recommendations.
It's so interesting watching the activity generated every time she makes a post, the number of push notifications that come through within minutes is incredible. As well, the comments are often absurd on her posts.
It's so obvious to a non-Instagram user (ie. me) that there is a tremendous number of bots going around, the fact that Facebook doesn't do something to eradicate the bots indicates to me that they're afraid to reveal the true numbers to their investors and advertisers, otherwise it would drastically affect their income.
Kids are getting older every year it seems.
A list of usernames and passwords it's useful if you use a program to manage them - automatically. Spam detection is super good nowadays, so it's super hard to create many accounts and keep them alive. Actually, keeping them alive it's the harder segment of it.
Fake followers = fake accounts. They're worthless. But some people don't care and just like to inflate their followers number because people think its cool to have many followers. Aslong as they can't tell they're fake tho.
Real followers = real persons following you because they like you. They're valuable. Why? Like any other advertising model where you're the publisher, you get paid per impression/post/sale/click/whatever. E.g you can share a photo where you're holding a certain brand of whisky and you get paid by said brand (to get brand to pay you, they either contact you directly or you partner with some agency) or you can promote your own company as well obviously. . You can also share a link in the bio.
Pardon my ignorance but I thought the more followers and engagement you have on Instagram the more you can charge for a sponsored post or product placement?
It's common to see fitness coaches and C-List celebrities to have lots of followers but very few likes/comments, which is a common sign of the user buying followers.
...which is unfortunate since I went and signed up on Instagram so I could play with their API to see how hard it would be to detect bots with a little python-fu.
It now looks like you have to have a facebook business account to be able to "game" instagram -- maybe?
It reminded me of a "mad cow disease" word document we shared around the place back in the 90s, which had a picture of a cow with VB rolling eyes..
The main problem is what to do then. Instagram may not want to ban influential bloggers.
Personally I find it infuriating that people do this.
Abusing the "like" mechanism is neither clever nor acceptable. It is a nuisance and it devalues the platform a lot.
Some of the photos and videos I post are mainly for myself and a few of my friends.
Some of the other videos I post because I want people from the whole world to see them.
The ones that are targeted at my friends I post with a short description and only one or two hashtags at most.
The ones that I want people from the whole world to see I add a handful of relevant hashtags to, so that people browsing those tags have a chance to see those things.
The pattern I have seen is that random accounts will randomly like previous posts of mine. Sometimes they like the sort of post that is discoverable via a popular hashtag but just as often I get likes on the images that you only find by coming to my profile -- the sort of images that is obviously of very little actual interest to anyone but myself and a few of my friends. In particular, I should say; most often these are accounts whose description state the profession of the person, and whose photos and videos tend to either revolve around that thing as well, or they post memes. Typically the profession of the person falls into one of three categories;
1. Musician. I post some music stuff and I follow some musicians. Almost certainly the people organizing the like-spamming have set it up so that if you are a musician and you ask them to like-spam for you, they have a list of other musicians with lots of followers and they use the lists of the followers of those people to find people interested in music that they can like-spam.
2. Personal Trainer.
3. Marketing person.
I report fake accounts when I see them but when it comes to the accounts of real people you only know that the majority of them are spamming but you can't know whether a single individual is like-spamming or actually leaving sincere likes.
Hence whenever I get likes from people that I don't know, I must assume that they are just spam-likes but at the same time I have no recourse.
The fact that I must assume they are all spam-likes is what devalues the likes for me.
The spam-likers have literally driven the value of a like to zero. When someone likes something I posted it should have been positive for me, but unless I know the person it's not because I know that there is an overwhelming probability that it's just another insincere fake like.
I hope that anyone and everyone partaking in the fake liking gets their account banned eventually. But if that even ever happened, which it won't, that would be so far into the future that in all likelihood I've already left Instagram for some other platform because I don't know how much longer I am going to bother maintaining a presence on Instagram.
Oh and another equally, or perhaps even more annoying thing that is being done is accounts that follow you and then some hours or days later they unfollow you. Because they never intended to follow you in the first place; they intentionally do this so that you will follow them back, hoping you will either not notice that they unfollow you or that you'll still keep following them even if you do notice. Rude!
As for what Instagram could do about this, it's not trivial but I think they could be doing more about it than they are currently. At the very least, the latter pattern of those I mentioned (frequently following and then unfollowing heaps of people) should be quite obvious to the people at Instagram if they cared.
The follow-unfollow pattern is done by bots controlling accounts as well I think.
Making the likes anonymous, as on reddit or HN, would be a big step forward.