Having a lot of followers is a measure of influence and so it is not surprising that many are obsessed with increasing their numbers in any way possible.
Thanks to social networks, the popularity of any person or brand is now measurable and is visible to all, expressed in the number of followers, fans, interactions, or reproductions in videos. Having a large following is a measure of influence and so it is not surprising that many are obsessed with increasing their numbers in any way possible, even buy 50k Instagram followers cheaply.
Celebrities, politicians, businessmen, and advertisers as well as ordinary people who simply want to look popular succumb to the temptation to engage in these not entirely honest practices. Thus, websites have emerged that sell followers and interactions for any platform, promising artificial and instant fame.
But within the universe of social networks, Instagram is currently the most popular, and that is why the services dedicated to it are by far the most requested. There are websites that allow you to buy Instagram followers at a rate of 50,000 real followers for just $ 299. In recent years, the demand has grown continuously, as can be seen in these search statistics for the expression “buy Instagram followers” from (source: Google Trends):
Where do the followers come from?
In some cases, they are created en masse by programmers with knowledge of hacking, so that they are not accounts that belong to real people, but “bots”, automated users. The profusion of bots is such that nowadays it is normal for any Instagram account to have around 30% of them. In other cases, the purchased followers are real users who have agreed to follow other accounts in exchange for some incentive.
Social networks like Instagram fight against the purchase of followers and automated actions of all kinds, improving their controls day by day. But, likewise, those who create and sell these services improve their techniques to evade those controls, in a kind of permanent “cold war”.
This constant war can be visualized with online tools such as Social Blade, which allows you to closely monitor the daily statistics of followers of any Instagram account. It is common to see in the graphs of some accounts staggered lines, with sudden increases and falls of followers that do not seem natural, as can be seen in the following case:
Although it is not possible to be sure with certainty in the case of specific accounts, sudden increases in followers are usually an indication of buying followers, just as sudden drops can be due to a massive suspension of accounts by Instagram. Instagram suspends follower accounts in bulk and automatically when it detects irregularities. The accounts of those who buy followers, however, do not suffer any penalty.
Astroturfing is a serious phenomenon
Buying fictitious followers and popularity is not limited to Instagram. It is a widespread phenomenon known as astroturfing, and it is viewed with increasing concern. In addition to growing alarmingly despite the efforts of online platforms to eliminate purchased followers, these practices are beginning to be used by governments to manipulate public opinion, pretending to support that is not available. This is shown by the recent report “Freedom on the Net” by the NGO Freedom House, which denounces the use of astroturfing practices in 30 of 65 countries surveyed.
Celebrities also buy Instagram followers a cheap 10k to stay current and have a better chance of getting media interviews. The more popular a celebrity is on social media, the more interest there is from the media in interviewing or hiring that personality to leverage their audience.
For their part, brands do it to outpace their competition in numbers on social networks, and community managers and advertisers incur these shortcuts due to the pressure of having to show their clients and bosses good results in advertising campaigns.
While buying Instagram followers and other astroturfing practices are not illegal, they are certainly controversial activities that affect public opinion and that you should be aware of.