behind every bot is a human: instagram automation explained
Susan Carnicero, Author of Spy the Lie, and former CIA Agent, says that on any given day, we're lied to from 10 to 200 times. Perhaps in cyberspace, that number is even more astronomical. The truth is (no pun intended) that what was once an endless void of possibilities, was gradually populated by the forward thinkers who are now elite social media royalty. They had the foresight to get in on the ground floor of the wild, wild web, when it was a simple, algorithm-free playground for the taking. Flags were erected and territories were claimed. Now the rest of us are trying to squeeze into that very same coveted ether, anointed with likes, comments and followers; except suddenly we have to go through customs, and the cyber-port is freakin’ crowded.
These days, we all want, among other things, to be internet famous, and sadly, it seems that the social media platforms are not rooting for the underdogs, the slow starters, and the late bloomers alike. Getting noticed takes time and work and most importantly, an uphill battle against algorithms designed to burry the new comer.
As a result, an obscene number of third party services have entered the market, claiming to boost engagement, visibility and popularity for a nominal and sometimes substantial monthly fees. They will all ask you for your login credentials and solicit some specific information to get you started.
Let me explain how this works: Firstly, all of these services are automated, meaning that your profile gets plugged into their software and begins social activity on your behalf. In short, with just a few clicks and commands, your account is easily converted into the dreaded bot that you've heard such nasty things about.
This bot, dressed as you, begins to perform tasks based on the parameters it has been provided. Specifics can include: assigning hashtags, geographic regions and even locations like every Starbucks or Macy's, etc. There is also a second tier of categories, like only targeting posts in the last 24 hours, and only from accounts with at least a certain number of followers.
The idea is that, based on the information the software is fed, it is then set on a mission to hunt down these specifics, and perform an action as if it's you. It can be a "Like," a "Comment" or a "Follow," and even an "un-Follow."
Here is when things get a bit hairy. None of this is a perfect science, namely due to opportunism and or manipulation. Let's say you tell the software to target any post which contains the hashtag #fashionblog, I mean what could be more targeted than that right? Well, what if I told you that the bot dressed as you, could be liking photos that contain porn, animal cruelty or other offensive content, banking on the fact that an innocent bot has been given this very targeted hashtag.
What's worse than that? The comment option, even if you program your bot to make seemingly innocuous comments like say... three emojis in a row, I mean really what could go wrong with that right? Well, quite frankly, some people consider it their personal mission to catch accounts that are plugged into bot software and report them. But how you ask? The oldest trick in the book is by simply posting a white, blank image and watching the "great shot!" comments roll in and then flagging them.
But it's not all bad news my pretties. You can still subscribe to these services, being very cautious and informed and keeping things as simple as possible. Here are just a few vetted platforms you can look into if you should be so inclined to become the human behind the bot. Please, please use these with caution as these types of platforms are routinely shut down by the Instagram powers that be.
All of the above platforms basically work on the same principals and will likely provide a 2 or 3 day trail to give you an opportunity to test it. Remember to limit your own activity if your bot is running in the background and proceed with the utmost caution. It's a jungle out there, bot accordingly.
If you like these kinds of informative posts, comment below and I'll be sure to do them more frequently.