Removing Bots And Fake Followers On Instagram

Updated onApril 27, 2020

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Approx. read time : 10 min

Every account on Instagram attracts some degree of bot followers, but removing them is crucial to improving your account. Whilst high numbers of followers are still important to influencers and bloggers, quality of content, engagement rates and interaction have become much more important over recent years. Large numbers of fake followers or bots can be detrimental to your brand and reputation. Luckily, there are steps you can take to remove them from your account.

The Rise Of Fake Followers

In the past, around the early 2010s, the number of followers that you had was considered essential to help you to grow. In order to make a blogger or influencer appear established or “credible”, they needed to have a high number of followers, ideally somewhere in the thousands. As such, many people at that time bought fake followers.

The rules and regulations surrounding social media weren’t quite as well established just a few years ago. Buying fake followers to help secure collaborations and brand sponsorships was something that many people saw as a necessary step to further their chances. Yet now, buying fake followers will do more damage to your account, reputation and job prospects than having a lower following. In short, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

On the other hand, some bloggers and influencers unwittingly gain fake followers when they sign up for Instagram Growth Services. Despite the service promising to deliver you a large number of real followers, the reality is that you end up with a load of bots littering your account.

Companies and real followers alike are much savvier about the issue of fake followers and bots. Rather than focusing on the number of followers, they are more interested in the quality of engagement, which will be considerably lower if you have high numbers of fake followers or bots. Simply put, in order to succeed on Instagram (or any other social media platform) to have to check through your social media following and get rid of any account following you that could be fake.

Related: Can Hashtags Get You More Instagram Followers?

How To Spot A Fake Follower?

The first step in removing fake followers and bots from your following is to identify them. This can sometimes be trickier to spot than you might have thought. After all, not all real followers have high numbers of posts or a big following themselves. Some people are more active than others. Yet, there are some simple warning signs to look out for when trying to decide whether or not an account is in fact real. It all comes down to the quality of the account. If an account is of particularly poor quality, be suspicious.

  • Account handle – If the handle contains numbers, it is more likely to be a bot or fake than a real follower.
  • The ‘following’ number – If they have a high number of people they are following, then the chances are that they are a ‘mass follower’. A mass follower account would be considered to be one that is following 5,000 accounts or more.
  • Number of followers and posts – Combine their following number with their number of followers and posts. If they have low numbers of followers and very low numbers of posts or no posts at all, then there is a high probability that the account is fake.
  • Quality of content – Consider the quality of their content. If the content quality is poor and you can’t see yourself or your friends following them back, then you should be suspicious of the account.
  • Post engagement – The same applies to the quality of post engagement. If an account has lots of followers, but very low engagement, such as very few comments and likes, then there is a high probability that it is a bot.

Why You Should Remove Fake Followers?

Tempting though it may seem to simply buy followers or to just leave any fake followers in your following to help boost your numbers, over time, it will actually do more harm than good. In reality, the only way to ensure that you increase your following, as well as your rate of engagement on Instagram, is to put in the hard work, time and effort and grow your following organically.

1. Damages Your Rates Of Engagement

Having an authentic account, even if that means having lower numbers of followers, will help to boost your engagement rates. This will mean that your content can reach more people and over time, creates the opportunity for your follower base to grow organically.

If you have fake followers and bots on your account, they will increase your following, but crucially will do nothing to increase your rate of engagement. Nowadays, brands and companies place more importance in your engagement rates than your number of followers because they want the content that you share to actually reach real people who will interact with it.

Fake followers and bots actually prevent you from building a community and real conversation and interaction with your followers and the content you are producing. In the long run, it will be more detrimental to your account to have a high number of (fake) followers, but a low rate of engagement.

2. Creates Spam

Another problematic feature of bots on your account is that they can use your Instagram account to spam your real followers. The bots infiltrate your community and then use you and your account as a platform to spam your genuine followers and target your customers.

Ultimately, this will lead to both you and your real followers potentially receiving lots of unwelcome and unwanted spam. If your account and your brand then become associated with spamming, this can significantly harm your reputation. If people think that your brand spams its followers with irrelevant content, then they are likely to stop following you. In the end, this will cause you to lose real followers who can actively engage with your content and will also harm the quality of your account.

3. Easy To Spot

Companies and brands have become much more tech-savvy. Marketers and PR reps have access to a range of tools that allow them to reveal the true amount of influence that a blogger or influencer actually yields. Crucially, this means that they will be able to tell if your account and following is genuine or fake. Approaching companies and brands when you’re unsure that your followers are authentic can lead to some embarrassing and costly situations.

It is also pretty clear to see when an account on Instagram has genuine, organic growth or not. For example, influencer accounts with real followers tend to have a fairly consistent line of follower growth, week on week.

Accounts who have bought fake followers will have inconsistent growth spikes from week to week, or even day to day. With free tools and software such as Social Blade, it has become extremely easy to check follower growth to see who has bought fake followers and who is actually working hard to cultivate a real and authentic audience.

4. Damages Your Reputation

Despite all the influencers out there, the influencer marketing world can actually be very small. News will travel fast when an influencer or blogger’s account has been revealed to have a fake or inauthentic following. This can be extremely damaging to you, your brand and your professional reputation.

As mentioned previously, companies and brands today are more interested in engagement and interaction. If you have a high following, but few likes or comments, this will be a red flag to most companies. Your followers to likes ratio is important. Most brands will be reluctant to work with a blogger or influencer with a poor audience. Ensuring that your Instagram account is free from fake followers and bots is crucial to maintaining your professional integrity and fostering an environment of genuine and authentic growth.

The effects of having your account exposed as inauthentic can be extremely damaging. Firstly, companies and big brands are unlikely to want to work with you. There have been cases where brands have even been known to blacklist influencers who have lied about their influence status. Secondly, it will make your real followers and any potential customers doubt you, your integrity and your brand, meaning they will be more likely to abandon you. Having fake followers to simply boost your numbers is not only dishonest, but is also a professional risk, simply not worth taking.

Related: 10 Smart Ways To Promote Your Business Through Instagram Stories

How To Remove Fake Followers?

However it is that you have accumulated fake followers, the good news is that there are ways to sort through your Instagram account and clear them out. The first thing to take into consideration is that this is a process which will take time. Depending on how many fake followers or bots you have on your account, it is a process that can take days or even weeks, so be patient and thorough. It will be worth it in the end.

1. Manually Block Followers

Manually removing or blocking followers is still one of the most effective ways to remove fake followers and bots from your account. However, this does take a long time and is likely to only work effectively if there are less than 10,000 poor quality accounts following you.

The only way to remove bad quality followers and bots on an Instagram Business Account is to manually block them.

In order to do this, you need to find their profile. Tap on the (…) icon at the top-right corner and then tap on the ‘Block’ option. You might decide to switch your account to your Personal Account and then make it Private. This way, you can simply remove followers without needing to block them.

2. Use An App

There are a number of apps available that you can use to help you remove unwanted followers, be they fake or real. If you need to get rid of fake followers and bots on a large scale, then consider using one of the apps to help you. They allow you to block and unfollow a large number of accounts in a short period of time.

However, it is important to note that some of these apps may be considered third-party apps by Instagram. This is in fact technically against Instagram’s Terms of Service, so use them at your discretion.

The best cleaner app for removing bots and any unwanted followers from your Instagram account is Cleaner for IG. It is available on all app stores for iOS and Android and, better yet, it is free to download. Essentially, Cleaner for IG will scan your followers and identify which ones are fake and provide you with the option to remove them. The app basically allows you to block fake followers en masse, which is the only way to remove them from your profile.

Additionally, the app also provides you with the option to mass unfollow and unblock other accounts, as well as unlike posts en masse. It will also track all of your actions and activity in an activity log. It is a handy app that allows users to remove bots from their accounts easily and quickly, thereby improving the quality of your own account.


Ensuring that your account is free from fake followers and bots is crucial, if you want companies and brands to want to collaborate and work with you. Having an account which is authentic will promote trust in your brand and reputation and will allow you to grow your following and community in a way which is organic and genuine.

Increasingly, brands will distance themselves from working with bloggers and influencers who have poor audience engagement, so don’t be afraid to remove bad quality audience from your account.

Remember that it can take time to successfully remove all bots from your account. Look out for any suspicious accounts and remove them. Whether you are removing bots manually or using an app, remember to do this periodically to ensure that you keep on top of it and maintain an authentic Instagram account that people will want to follow.

Mary F. Montgomery is a successful writer at Originwritings. Currently based in the US, Mary has travelled extensively. She lived in France, where she graduated from college with a degree in marketing, as well as in Asia, where she worked as a marketing specialist. Mary has a particular interest in digital marketing, psychology and social media and enjoys writing articles on these topics.