"Instagram Bots"


Have you ever received the "That's cute!" comment on a Donald Trump meme you posted or have been tagged in a photo of a picture that suggests that "YOU CAN GET FOLLOWERS WITH JUST ONE CLICK!" No? Well, aside form those specific situations, have you received a comment on Instagram that does not pertain to the picture it is commenting on and it is from a person you do not know? Probably. This is through the usage of BOTS. If you google it, BOTS can be defined as 

  1. the larva of the botfly, which is an internal parasite of animals. It lives typically in the stomach, finally passing through the host's dung and pupating on the ground.

But, that is not what I am talking about. I am speaking on internet bots, which are software applications that execute tasks repetitively at a un-humanly fast rate. Bots can be used to purchase an exclusive item online, crash systems, as well as to like, follow, and comment on Instagram. The last three listed is what I find to be the current topic of conversation. A simple picture with the hashtag "#Goodtimes" can lead to random likes, following and unfollowing, along with "GET FOLLOWERS NOW!" comments. All three of these actions that are performed by bots are terribly annoying.

I recently read a post by Emily Jenny Cholakian where she shares her frustration on the evolution of Instagram and how it is used. She claims the sole purpose of Instagram is,

[To be] A stream of images from accounts you follow because 1. you know the person or 2. You are inspired by the account in some shape, way or form.
— Emily Jenny Cholakian

Emily and I can both agree on the dislike towards automated systems that follow and unfollow people, like random photos, and leave generic comments on images all to generate attention to the BOT owner. I do not like these BOT activities because it generates false connections between users. The liking of pictures, the "DOPE!" comments posted, and follows are not genuine. Not to mention, the quantity of followers has evolved from a numeric definition of how many people are interested in a specific account to just a meaningless number. What does 10.5K followers mean when a BOT can simply have generated followers because of the users they have randomly interacted with followed the account because of the action of the BOT and not because they actually like the account? Users can also buy followers, which is a whole other story. Statistically, people are more inclined to follow someone because that account followed them first. It is like saying thank you when someone opens the door for you; it is a form of internet courtesy. This knowledge is why people utilize BOTS .

Generalizing much? Yes. I can say I have left a few bias comments and generalizations within my text. I do acknowledge that some people actually use BOTS to get to users that they might not be able to reach by simple word of mouth or without the usage of a BOT. After going to ComplexCon, every picture I tagged with #ComplexCon or #ComplexCon2016 received likes from people I do not know or follow. Within some of those likes, BOT or not, there were a few accounts I actually liked. I found out about a great collage creator Raphael Vicenzi, from Belgium, as well as Naturel, a cubism artist. I mean, even  Emily Jenny Cholakian uses a BOT to like the images of the people she follows because of the recent Instagram algorithm change. She feels as though she needs a BOT to like pictures to show the instgramer that she did genuinely want to follow them. I have found myself scrolling through photos within a specific hashtag and double tapping images of random people to show I actually liked that specific content they posted. Sadly, because of automated systems, the users might have assumed that my actions were BOT generated.

So, the question is are the usage of BOTS on Instagram or the user of BOTS wrong? it depends on a person's perspective. I am torn at times because I did find some amazing people through, most likely, a BOT. But, there are those accounts that I see follow and unfollow people to gain followers based on the action of following, instead of the actual account's content. I cannot say this is the truth every time. I personally would not want people to follow me if they did not want to view the content I post, like images they would not naturally like, or leave a comment that they do not mean. But, if Pharrell used a BOT to follow me for a week, I... probably wouldn't mind.

How do you feel about BOTS?
Leave a comment of your thoughts.


Ashley BerryComment