If you publish Instagram stories to a public account, and receive views from people who don’t follow you, you’re not alone.
Where Are the Fake Views Coming From?
TechCrunch reports the influx of fake views is related to a new tactic where spammy accounts are “watching” stories to appear more real and gain new followers in the process.
This growth hack sprung up after Instagram began cracking down on bots and paid likes and followers back in November.
The idea is that if spam accounts are “viewing” stories then they won’t get flagged for being a bot, or having paid likes and followers.
Who is Responsible?
TechCrunch speculates this is being done by third parties with sophisticated setups:
“Some of these growth hackers probably have banks of phones set up where Instagram Stories are ‘watched’ without being watched.”
The types of accounts responsible for fake story views range from Russian models, to social media agencies, to public figures trying to grow their presence.
Needless to say, this is not the way to grow your presence on Instagram. Inauthentic activity is taken seriously and it will get penalized sooner than later.
What’s Being Done About It?
Instagram confirms to TechCrunch that it’s aware of fake story views and is working on ways to reduce the activity,
The solution will involve implementing new measures specifically for stories. Instagram did not not offer any further details.
For now, the only way to stop story views from spam accounts is to make your account private. Although that’s clearly not ideal for people who are trying to expand their audience.
Another thing you can do is hide your stories from spam accounts when they pop up in the ‘viewers’ section. You could even go a step further and report the account for spam, which I find almost always results in an account removal.
Eventually Instagram will have measures in place to thwart this activity without users having to clean up the spam on their own.