Instagram has become one of the major vehicles for spreading disinformation, according to a new report from the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, which points to a “lack of clear strategy for addressing the serious problems inherent in Instagram’s operating model. ” Under growing pressure, the tech giant has taken steps to crack down on problematic accounts and to arm users with tools to identify suspicious activity.
Instagram accounts falsely promising some form of disaster aid in exchange for likes and followers may seem like obvious hoaxes to most users, but they’re working: Some scammers appear to be turning big profits by exploiting people’s goodwill and Instagram’s inability to regulate the hordes of bad actors among its 1 billion users.
The now-defunct Instagram page @PrayForTheAmazonia managed to hoodwink more than 90,000 users into following its account, which promoted a PayPal account and a fraudulent GoFundMe campaign that claimed to have “partnered with” Rainforest Trust, an environmental nonprofit.
This kind of sanctimonious scolding — shaming others for their apparent ignorance, silence or inaction surrounding a crisis — has become a sort of trend on social media and a way to effectively pat oneself on the back while getting likes for speaking out. “The Amazon Rainforest has been burning for 3 weeks straight and we’re only finding out about it now.
The Amazon scam “violates our policies and we will remove accounts and content that promote it,” said Stephanie Otway, a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram.
Instagram Scammers Are Using The Fires In The Amazon To Rip People Off No, Justin Bieber won’t donate $10,000 if you follow this Instagram account.
Even #SaveSpidermanFromSony has been reported more by the media than #PrayforAmazonia and it’s absolutely shameful,” read Scott’s post, which included the hashtags #OutfitIdeas and #OrangeHair. “The world is pretty f**ked up right now and we all need to do what we can to make it right. ” (Scott later edited her caption, apologizing for the “tone deaf” hashtags, then removed the post altogether.
Adding a popular hashtag to a post — even if it’s unrelated to the content itself — can increase the post’s likelihood of being featured in Instagram’s public “Explore Tab,” which means increased exposure and ultimately, more likes.