The fake activity has long violated Instagram’s rules but has proliferated nonetheless. In the last seven weeks, however, Instagram, the Facebook-owned app with 700 million users per month, has been cracking down on such businesses. It’s led to the shuttering of anonymously run sites with names like Instagress, PeerBoost, InstaPlus, Mass Planner and Fan Harvest, though others remain.
Racking up followers and likes on photos gives a sheen of legitimacy to small businesses or aspiring social-media influencers. If 10,000 people are following them, someone quickly scanning through Instagram might think, “Maybe I should start paying attention to them, too.” And popular accounts also tend to attract advertisers.
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