About eight months ago, Instagram made Rantic's job harder by cracking down on spam. The financial hit from the crackdown forced Rantic to get smarter. Before December 2014, says a Rantic guy going by "Jackpov," Instagram "had no spam filters." But then the great "Instagram Rapture" happened, in which at least 18 million suspect accounts were deleted. Some users lost more than 3 million fake followers, for example, including Justin Bieber."We were losing over 1 million accounts a day for a week," Juice told me. The monetary value of these lost bot accounts? "I would say in the six figures," said Juice.By the end of the purge, Rantic lost 11 million of its 33 million bot accounts. The purge also allegedly wiped out its biggest competitor, a Russian who had 100 million fake accounts, according to Juice. To recover, Rantic has teamed up with a few Russians (not their rival, who hasn't been heard from since his botting operation was shut down) to build a "stronger bulletproof bot." He estimates Instagram currently has at least 45 million bot accounts on the platform as of right now.Rantic claims to now know Instagram's algorithm, like what it looks for in determining if the account is real, which they say includes the number of posts, the type of default photo, the bio and even if the account makes comments. The new bots literally copy and paste other people's content, Juice said so "nobody, not even Instagram, can tell if they're fake," he told me.
"Bots warp and dilute the value of Instagram."
Regulating botting on platforms has always been difficult, because many people on social platforms are just "very bot-like" to begin with