Fake Instagram Followers: How To Spot and Remove Them

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Karen Lin

Instagram Tips | Nov 09, 2023

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Fake Instagram followers are a common part of the platform that you can’t escape. For some, they are a nuisance, leaving silly comments. For others, they’re a surefire way to increase follower counts.

No matter the case, fake followers on Instagram pose a more significant problem than you may realize. They can harm your algorithm performance and credibility and even lead to various troubles with Instagram, including bans.

This article will walk you through what fake accounts are, how to identify and remove them, and much more.

An influencer chooses a picture to upload to her account after removing fake followers.

How Instagram Bot Followers and Fake Accounts Can Hurt You

Before we dive into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of Instagram fake followers, let’s start with the ‘what.’

In a nutshell, fake Instagram accounts aren’t managed by real people. Individuals create some in large numbers, while automated bots churn out others.

These accounts may flood your posts with spammy comments and likes or remain inactive.

And it’s not just Instagram. Fake accounts are a common issue on all social media platforms. For instance, Twitter eliminates over 310 million bot accounts annually, about ten bots per second.

With its massive user base of approximately 1 billion, Instagram has about 95 M fake accounts. It means about 1 in 10 accounts are fake.

On Instagram, a prevalent use of fake accounts is artificially inflating follower counts. Businesses or wannabe influencers looking for rapid growth often purchase thousands of followers.

But here’s the catch – all of them are bots.

Many people don’t realize these bogus followers do little to improve their accounts. They may even damage them.

Here are a few reasons why Instagram bot followers can pose a problem for you:

They Don’t Interact or Engage With Posts

Fake followers may give you a quick like or comment when they start following you. However, it will only last for a while.

Over time, they won’t actively engage or interact with your posts. You must be wondering that not all followers leave comments, right?

Your engagement rates are crucial, calculated by comparing the “number of likes” you receive to your “total followers.”

The higher the rate, the more Instagram favors your account. Remember, each fake follower that remains disengaged pulls your rate down, affecting your profile’s visibility.

They Damage Your Credibility

While some may be impressed by your high follower count, savvy Instagram users will see through it.

They’ll notice if your 20,000+ followers result in only a handful of likes on your photos. If people see your followers filled with bots leaving generic comments, it will damage trust in the brand.

They May Lead You To Trouble – Even Ban

Instagram doesn’t favor fake accounts.

While it’s increasingly hard to stop bots from being made, Instagram actively removes them when it detects them.

Suppose your account has excessive fake followers or moderators who suspect you of buying followers or using banned tools. In that case, your account may face penalties, such as restrictions, suspensions, or even bans.

It’s best to avoid buying followers and clear your Instagram of fake ones.

They Distort Your Metrics

Believe it or not, metrics are powerful for social media marketers.

Not only does Instagram analytics help you spot what works and what doesn’t, but also where growth opportunities lie.

However, having a swarm of ghost followers can muddy your data, making it challenging to analyze.

Consider this: how will you measure your real engagement, click-through rates, or conversion rates without knowing your actual follower count?

They Can Damage Your Budget

This ‘point’ applies more to influencer marketing.

Businesses invest in influencers to promote their products, with a potential ROI of $5 or more for every dollar spent.

Yet, 25% of companies either lose money or break even.

Why? Because they pay influencers that lack any influence due to fake followers.

Knowing how to spot fake IG followers benefits your account and helps you identify between real and fake influencers.

An Instagram user searches for companies to buy followers.

Why Do People Buy Instagram Followers?

Many people mistakenly believe that having a lot of followers is the key to social media success. They often resort to buying followers as a shortcut, thinking it equates to popularity.

However, social media doesn’t work that way.

Anyone can buy Instagram followers. But, you’ll only be an influencer if you can ‘truly’ influence users. You have to establish yourself as a “thought leader” in your market and grow followers organically.

The issue with fake followers (buying followers) is that it creates an imbalance. You have hundreds and thousands of IG followers but need more engagement.

Now that you know why people buy IG followers and what fake accounts are, let’s find out how to spot them.

A girl influencer sifts through her following list to find fake followers.

How To Identify Fake Instagram Followers?

Do you want to know how to identify fake Instagram followers and differentiate between fake and genuine influencers/accounts?

Here are a few effective ways to spot fake followers on Instagram:

Check Their IG Followers

One quick way to identify fake followers is by checking their following-to-follower ratio.

Often, fake accounts follow many users (some even follow 7500) while they only have a few followers. Of course, it doesn’t mean newbie Instagram users who follow more accounts than their ‘following’ are bots.

However, a wildly skewed ratio, such as 5,000 following to 600 followers, is a red flag for a fake account.

Measure Engagement Rate on Instagram

As we mentioned, fake accounts typically lack engagement. This is also true for fake IG accounts with bogus followers.

If you notice an account with a substantial following but a low engagement rate, it means they have fake followers.

An account with 5,000 followers but less than ten likes per post is a strong indicator that it’s fake.

Read Their Comments

Another way to spot fake followers on Instagram is through comments like “wow” or “good pic.”

Moreover, common spam comments under popular accounts’ posts can also indicate fakeness.

Here are a few things that separate bot comments from ones made by genuine people:

  • Generic.
  • Impersonal.
  • Comments that aren’t related to the photo.
  • Spelling or grammar mistakes.

While not every generic comment is necessarily fake, they can be a significant sign of bogus accounts.

Evaluate Their Profiles

When companies sell 1000 fake followers for just $10, they won’t create profiles with engaging bios, real photos, or unique posts.

Instead, they will fill accounts with basic, most generic information. Luckily, it makes identifying fake followers a lot easier.

Here are three telltale signs you should consider:

  • Profile Picture: Instagram bot accounts typically lack profile pictures and may use generic stock photos. Or something that’s not a human, such as a duck or a beach.
  • Bio: A typical IG bio is personal and provides insights into the individual or service. Conversely, fake followers either have no bios or use generic promotional language that aligns differently from their posted content.
  • Usernames: When creating a genuine Instagram account, the platform recommends adding numbers to the username if it’s already taken. However, most people find usernames like “@joe235456932480234” hard to remember and unattractive.

Companies or people who create fake accounts use these number-laden usernames to save time. This can help you identify fake followers quickly.

Check Their Posts

Fake accounts often lack unique, engaging content. So, pay attention to posts that show the following characteristics:

  • Mostly promotional content.
  • Posts offering fake deals or discounts.
  • Content that doesn’t align with the bio or profile picture.
  • Posts made in a short time frame and then no further activity.

Spotting these patterns in an Instagram account’s behavior can help you identify and steer clear of fake followers. This helps ensure a more authentic and meaningful social media experience.

Top 3 Fake Follower Checkers You Can Use To Detect Fake IG Followers

Fake follower checkers are available. There are free tools to assess the percentage of fake followers and paid tools that can even remove such followers.


The name exactly says what the app does, i.e., check for bogus followers. The app does it by analyzing engagement levels.

After all, Instagram bots never interact or engage with accounts or post comments; they follow. This enables it to determine whether a follower is fake or genuine.

However, it’s not free. You need to purchase $1 worth of credits for usage. And you can use it on accounts with 1,000 or less followers.

IG Audit

A free tool, IG Audit, helps you see whether IG users are real or fake.

To analyze an account, you just need to put its username. It will generate a report that shows the percentage of real versus fake followers.

For a more comprehensive analysis, you can opt to pay. This way, you’ll see if they’re good, dormant, or suspicious followers.


SpamGuard – designed as a cleaning app – helps detect fake followers and remove spam accounts.

This versatile tool eliminates inactive users and identifies accounts unrelated to your content.

SpamGuard additionally provides anti-spam protocols to safeguard your account from bots, ghosts, hackers, and fake followers.

Although it lacks a free trial, you can choose a single scan option.

A content creator removing all fake and ghost followers from her account.

How To Remove Fake Followers on Instagram?

Now you know how to identify fake followers through tools and manually. Let’s dive into learning how to remove fake followers on Instagram.

Report “Fake Followers”

One reliable way to eliminate fake Instagram followers is by reporting their accounts. Typically, Instagram will promptly take action and remove them.

Follow these easy steps to report a fake follower:

  1. Locate the IG profile you wish to report.
  2. Tap the “three dots” at the top-right corner of a profile (on Android or iOS).
  3. Select ‘Report.’

That’s it! Now, you only need to wait for Instagram to take the necessary action. Your Instagram will be clean of fake followers in no time.

Remove All “Fake Followers” From Your IG Account

For another way to remove fake followers without reporting them, follow this cost-effective but time-consuming method:

  1. Check your fake follower percentage using fake follower checker tools.
  2. Apply the provided tips to identify fake followers individually.
  3. Click ‘Remove’ next to the fake follower’s name in your follower list.

This approach helps you clean up your follower list efficiently.

Why Real Instagram Followers Matter?

Do you know that over 80% of Instagram accounts follow a brand or business? This fact alone should pique your interest in how Instagram can benefit your company.

However, success on Instagram isn’t just about posting pictures.

You must connect your activities to business goals and attract your target audience for engagement. Make sure to create a following of real, interested people.

Still wondering why real Instagram followers matter? Here’s why:

Authentic Engagement

When you have real Instagram followers, you build a community that cares about your posts/content.

These people are genuinely interested in what you offer, whether it’s your services, products, or ideas.

They engage with your content/posts by leaving likes and meaningful comments, boosting your profile’s visibility and vitality.

Trust & Credibility

Real people add an essential layer of credibility and trust to your IG account.

Potential partners or customers will trust your brand more when they visit your account and see thousands of genuine followers.

Targeted Audience

Your message will reach the right people if you have real Instagram followers.

When you gather followers organically, they’re likely people who are interested in your field or niche. Your posts/content will connect with them, leading to high conversion and engagement rates.


Instagram’s algorithm rewards authenticity and engagement.

Real Instagram followers who connect with your content regularly help catch the algorithm’s attention. This, in turn, boosts your content’s reach.

Sustainable Growth

Real followers help bring sustainable growth.

While fake followers (buying followers) may provide a sudden boost, it often doesn’t result in actual revenue or engagement.

However, real followers help create a loyal base that stays and increases with your business/brand.

Brand Advocacy

Real followers often become your brand advocates. They’re not passive consumers. They’re people who value what you offer and are ready to endorse your credibility.

These supporters can significantly expand your brand’s influence by sharing the word within their networks.

Elevate Your Instagram Profile Without Ghost Followers

Now you know why fake followers on Instagram can be a bad omen for your brand or profile. Follow the steps to the T to identify each fake follower and remove them.

Although organic growth takes more time than buying fake followers, it’s more effective and valuable in the long term.

Want to identify and remove ghost followers and up your IG profile? Choose Path Social!

We offer tailored strategies and tools to enhance your Instagram profile, unlocking its full potential for increased followers.

Don’t wait to learn to identify fake Instagram followers – let Path Social help you get there. Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today!