Instagram is finally cracking down on fake accounts

Instagram is finally clamping down on fake accounts that aren’t controlled by real users.

Instagress, a service that helped Instagram users gain additional followers for a fee, has been forced to shutdown as a result of the crackdown.

Some don’t care if their followers are real or not; they just want as many as possible to appear popular. A 2015 research study found that around 30 percent of Instagram accounts are inactive, and around 8 percent were automated spam or fraudulent accounts.

Instagress is one of a number of services that became a surprising successful service by taking advantage of the desire to appear popular.

For $10 a month, it turned your Instagram account into “a small robot clone of yourself with the same interests and style.” That “robot clone” was then put to work, automatically liking and commenting on thousands of photos in an effort to attract new followers.

But Instagress is no more. The service confirmed this week that it was forced to close down “by request of Instagram.” Users can still login to their Instagress accounts — but only to request a refund for service they will no longer receive.

It’s unclear whether similar services have been shuttered yet, but this indicates Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is finally going after bot accounts designed to attract as many followers as possible.

Instagram has not confirmed the crackdown. “We don’t comment on specific apps,” it told Business Insider. However, its Terms of Use policy prohibits the sale or transfer of accounts, followers, and usernames — and the creation of accounts for third-parties.

Instagress was active for over three years, but it’s unclear how many people paid to use its service.