Obviously, spam has been a problem for years, but what I’ve been noticing a lot recently are “quirks” about spam accounts on several different messaging apps and other social sites.
Let’s start with Instagram. Like any other popular app, we knew it would have spam issues eventually. The strange part is that some of these spam accounts seem to slip through the cracks – maybe because they’re created so quickly.
One group of spam accounts in particular that stood out uses Portuguese hashtags like #chuvadeseguidores, #chuvadelikes, and #seguidoresreais to attract followers. (“Chuva de seguidores” = rain of followers.) In fact, it appears to be based out of Brazil. When I checked these particular hashtags, it was obvious that all of the photos tagged with them were spam-related as well:
You would think most people would just ignore these, but that’s hardly the case. The accounts have hundreds, if not thousands, of likes and comments. I suspect, however, that these “followers” you gain are not real people, but more bots.
On top of that, one of the dangers may be that if you unintentionally give permissions to one of these bots to follow you, it might start “liking” things on your behalf. I’m sure that’s not what all the people liking and commenting on their photos intended.
My thought is that if you want tons of likes, you either have to buy them, or do it the hard way – make great content. Anyway, what’s the big deal with likes? (Oh, I forgot. It’s 2018.)
Give me SpamChat!
While SnapChat’s a bit different in this regard, it clearly has the same issue. Instead of accounts with photos, however, the spammers pose as “friends” or people looking for friends. Sound familiar?
I don’t use Snapchat as much as I do Instagram, but I would assume that similar rules apply. If you correspond with the bot, it will have a scripted “conversation” with you, and at some point it will redirect you to an adult dating site, or something along those lines.
To prevent this, go to your profile, and click the settings gear. Under settings, there’s an area that says “Who Can…”
Change “Contact Me” from “Everyone” to “My Friends,” and you should stop receiving snaps from the spammers, if you have been at all.
Apparently, this is a problem on Kik as well (why am I not surprised?). In a similar manner to Snapchat, the bots will send you a message posing as a real person, and redirect you to an adult dating site. One of the catches is that these sites tend to be extraordinarily expensive, and can have multiple hidden charges – so there’s your scam.
On the other hand, if you want to code a Snapchat bot, that’s a different matter.
I happen to have found some GitHub repositories for both Instagram and Snapchat bots, if that interests you:
Check those out, and they may put you on the right track.
Let’s just hope the social media bots don’t destroy all humans.