Instagram kills fake likes, followers from shady apps

If you've used an app to get fake followers on Instagram, prepare to see your audience count drop.

Instagram is now cracking down on fake activity on the social media service, which it blamed on shady apps that can artificially grow the audience size for an Instagram account.

"Starting today, we will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity," the Facebook-owned platform said in a notice.

Instagram is using computer algorithms to pinpoint the problematic accounts, which will then "receive an in-app message alerting them that we have removed the inauthentic likes, follows and comments given by their account to others," the service said.

Instagram isn't naming which third-party apps are responsible for the fake activity. But it said they function by first convincing users to give up their username and password to their accounts. With such access, the apps can then take over the account to generate artificial likes and followers on the platform. As a result, Instagram will require affected users to change their passwords.

"These new measures will be ongoing, and accounts that continue to use third-party apps to grow their audience may see their Instagram experience impacted," the social media service said, without elaborating.

So far, Instagram hasn't said if any of this fake activity was being used to spread misinformation. But in recent months, Facebook has been vocal in its effort to stopstate-sponsored internet trolls from infiltrating the company's products.

Instagram said more measures to crack down on fake activity will be announced in the coming weeks.

This article originally appeared in PCMag.