Can Buying Fake Followers and Likes on Instagram Get You Banned?

Harshita Agrawal

Harshita Agrawal is the Founder of eSocMedia. She is a social media and influencer marketing specialist who spends most of her time behind the screen. She's also an avid reader and a travel enthusiast.

Can you get banned for buying likes and followers on Instagram? Many of those who want to grow their Instagram accounts ask this question and many aspiring social media managers still think that it’s a good idea to use tools for follower and engagement growth. In this post, we’ll explain why you should never ever do that.

In fact, buying Instagram followers and likes is one of the easiest ways to get more followers for your account. Just type “buy Instagram followers” on your search engine and you will get thousands of sites claiming to sell credible Instagram followers and likes.

SERP for 'buy Instagram followers'

The surprising thing is that everyone, including individuals, brands, and influencers, is involved in purchasing fake followers. There are two reasons why social media managers, business owners, and creators are buying followers and likes on Instagram:

  • They buy likes in an attempt to rank higher in the Explore page. Instagram algorithm works in a way that the higher engagement posts are shown at the top of the Explore page and have a better reach.
  • They buy followers to create a perception that an account is followed and liked by a lot of other Instagram users. 
  • They believe that a large follower base means many clients.

The sites for buying followers and likes offer various services from buying video views, story views, post likes, comments, and followers. Basically, there’s no engagement metric of Instagram that can’t be bought online.

Check Instagram accounts for fake followers with the HypeAuditor Free Instagram Audit tool.

The question is: What has Instagram been doing to protect its platform from fake engagement? And can you lose your Instagram profile by buying fake engagement?

What happens when you buy Instagram Followers and Likes?

The truth is that buying followers and likes on Instagram can do significant damage to your account and even compromise your reputation. Instead of investing your efforts and time into attracting real audiences, you try to grow your account artificially missing out on a chance to bring in and engage people who would be genuinely interested in your content and offer.

Now, let’s dive deeper into what might happen if you purchase followers and likes on Instagram.

  • Instagram can warn you to change your password
  • Since November 2018, Instagram has been auto-detecting and removing Instagram accounts involved in buying “inauthentic” likes, followers, and comments. If Instagram catches you using any of these third-party apps, they give you the warning to change your password. This makes sure that any existing false engagement is discontinued from your Instagram account. 

    Instagram auto-detecting accounts that buy followers and likes

  • You may lose all your fake engagement
  • Analyze any Instagram account for fake followers and engagement. Learn more.

    You might often notice a sudden drop in your Instagram followers despite no changes from your side. This usually happens because the Instagram algorithm keeps getting rid of all the fake accounts from their platform. If you use any service that adds fake accounts to your account, don’t expect them to stay for long. Any new Instagram algorithm update, and you may lose your followers and waste your money for nothing.

  • You will be shadowbanned on Instagram
  • Being shadowbanned on Instagram means that your posts are not visible to people who are not following your account. If an Instagram bot catches any aggressive engagement behavior on your Instagram account, they can shadowban you. Sometimes, shadowban can also mean that your posts have a lower reach than usual.

    Being shadowbanned on Instagram can be pretty bad because it begins to hurt your organic reach and it can be really hard to gain it back.

  • Your Instagram account may be banned:
  • If you continue to buy engagement despite the above actions taken by the Instagram bot on your account, then there’s a high chance of Instagram simply banning your account. You will receive an error message stating that your account has been disabled for violating their policies.

    Error message about violating Instagram policies

    These are some of the major actions taken by Instagram to protect spamming and ingenuine behavior on the platform.

    Also, these bots that you’re buying are not interested in your content or your business. They will not interact with your posts, thus, your engagement rate remains on the same level. If you are fortunate enough.

    A Few Tips for Organic Instagram Growth

    If you want to grow your audience organically, we suggest using the following tips.

    1. Don’t overestimate the importance of metrics like follower number and likes, Instead, you need to focus on your content strategy and provide your audience with what they’re looking for. This will help you naturally gain real followers.
    2. Invest in visual elements. Since Instagram is a image-focused space, you need to make sure that your posts are visually pleasing.
    3. Ensure content diversity. Instagram now provides multiple ways and tools to engage your audience, like videos, stories, Reels, and IGTV. Test different content formats to boost your Instagram growth.
    4. Leverage the power of relevant influencers who share your audience and can help you promote your brand.
    5. Communicate with your audience. Talk to your followers who might be your potential clients. By listening to them you can better understand what they really want and how you can help them.

    If you ever wonder if any Instagram profile has genuine growth or not, you can use tools like Account Analytics in HypeAuditor to detect fake engagement.

    HypeAuditor is a free tool that can help you analyze any Instagram account for its fake followers and engagement and make sure that you partner with authentic creators.

    You can also check our post on how to get rid of bots on Instagram.

    If you have any questions regarding buying Instagram followers and likes, you can let me know in the comments below.

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