Help! My Instagram is posting spam!

There's another wave of spamming going on at Instagram. Spam comments, promising loads of free followers, tagging your account to spammy photos and spammers following you or asking to become your followers, are getting out of hands. Not only there's lots of spam, but many, quite innocent folks have noticed their accounts are spamming others. So why are Instagram accounts turning into spam accounts, how to stop it when it happens to you and how can you prevent it?

Help! My Instagram is posting spam! -- Mervi Emilia

The most searched and found article on this site is my last year post, on how to get rid of spam on Instagram. Due to this I have just updated it a little, to reflect some of the UI and other changes Instagram has done (link to the post is included below). But lots of people have been finding it by searching ways to stop their own accounts from spamming. Not only you are getting spammed, but your account is spamming or it could start spamming others.

First things first. How did your account start to post spam in the first place? Your Instagram (hey, this pretty much applies to Twitter, Pinterest and more) is posting spam because it has been compromised. This means that somehow spammers have gained access to using your account. It can be the case of plain old hacking, for example if you used a weak password or the same password as you are using on other websites and services. However, especially with Instagram, there's another explanation to how spammers got ahold of your account. They infect it.

You know those comments and accounts promising you tons of free followers? They are honeypots, which lure you to either only click a link in a scam profile or even give your credentials (username and password) yourself. Did you get tons of free followers? More spam followers, perhaps. What you got was, your account being turned into a spam account. In the easiest case, it only takes a clicking a link, and your account is hijacked. You may not even notice this, until you get blocked from commenting or even suspended from Instagram altogether.

In case you suspect that your account has been compromised, not all is lost. There's a very simple thing you can do to fix things. Change your password. Immediately. If you make a mistake of clicking one of those links in those profiles that promise sex or free followers or other things that sound just too good to be true, change your password. As a matter of fact, change your password, just for a good measure. Periodically, once in a while, right now as you are reading this. Change it. And for everyone's sake, stop using that same, weak password everywhere. And of course, stop clicking those links promising you all sorts of stuff for free. Nothing is free.

Additionally check the Authorized Applications in your profile settings. You can access them through the Instagram website. Click Edit Profile and then Authorized Applications. If you find anything suspicious there, if an app name doesn't ring a bell, click Revoke Access. This is also a good thing to do now and then, even if you don't suspect your account has been compromised. Just in case.

And what if your account is getting lots of spam comments or being tagged in many spam images? See my post about how to deal with Instagram spam. Report the spam comments, the spammy photos and spam accounts. You can also report spam comments you see on other people's photos. I really recommend doing this, because the faster the spam gets reported, the less accounts get infected and the less spam there will be. By the way, if you saw a spam comment on your photo, but it then vanished, it could be because someone else reported it.

In short:

  • Change your password
  • Check your account's Authorized Applications
  • Don't use that same weak password you are using everywhere else
  • Don't click links on spam accounts
  • Report spam where you see it

There's no bulletproof way to stop spam anywhere online. However, by keeping your account safe and reporting spam, you will reduce the amount of spam on Instagram.

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