As everywhere else online also on Instagram there's lots of spam. There are spam accounts which post spam images and spam comments, spamming other people's photos as well as tags. One of the most searched and visited posts on this blog is How to get rid of spam comments on Instagram. It's not quite up to date and doesn't necessarily answer all the questions about spam on the service. That's why I'm writing this updated post about the subject. In this post I will look quickly on how to report spam, but also how to avoid spam on Instagram.
UPDATE February 2018: For updated information, please read Dealing with Instagram spam.
First you can always report spam comments, photos and spam accounts on Instagram. On iPhones and iPads you can report spam by going to the comments of the photo, swiping your finger to left on the comment you wish to report, tap the exclamation mark (!) and tap Spam or Scam. On Android devices you also go to the comments, tap you want to report and tap Delete Comment and Report Abuse. A photo you can report by clicking the button with three dots above the post, then tapping Report, and following the following instructions. On a profile the same three dots can be found also on the top right, and there you can report a profile as inappropriate (or spam) in a similar way as you would do it with photos. Read more at Instagram Help Center: Abuse & Spam.
You can also remove spam comments from other people's photos. It is good for you too, if spam is cut short as soon as possible.
This, of course, doesn't completely remove spam or spam accounts. Nothing does, unfortunately. Spam is an annoying part of life online. If you want to keep using Internet and it's services you must not be so shaky about a little spam. Sorry to be harsh, that's how it goes. But there are some ways to avoid getting swamped with spam on Instagram. I actually get very little spam comments and I'm not too interested on how many of my followers are spammy as long as they don't cause me any trouble. To be quite clear I don't even remember the last time my photo on Instagram got spammed. It's been a while then.
Some people are setting their profiles private to avoid spam. It's a way to go, but will also stop you for gaining more followers and, for example, for your photos to show up on hashtag pages. There are those of us who aren't fond of following private profiles, because we never know what sort of unpleasant surprises there might be on a profile like that. As I mentioned setting your profile private will also restrict public viewing of your photos. Only those who already follow you will see your photos on hashtag pages, so using hashtags on private photos is a bit silly. Speaking of hashtags, using some tags and words on your photo descriptions are luring spammers. For instance tags for follows and likes (such as #follow4follow or #like4like) or celebrity names are spammy as is, and make your photos susceptible to spam. Also tagging and talking about things like weight loss or other similar subjects will gain you more spam. Plus more you mistag (use irrelevant tags) your photos the more they will lure spam comments. I recommend taking a look at what sort of photos are found on the page of the hashtag you are about to use. The more there's mistagged stuff there and the more spammy the page seems, the more you will gain spam comments, comment tagging and followers. Certain types of photos can be spam magnets too. Selfies, especially those featuring young hot girls are spambot favourites.
Lots of spam comments in your photos may also be a sign of your account being compromised and posting spam comments. See the link below for the instructions of how to stop your account from spamming.
If you are in a habit of not checking the comments on your photos you will get more spam comments. Remove the spam comments as soon as they appear, and the spammers won't view your photos as great place for posting spam. (Also, if you saw a spam comment on other person's photo, report it asap.) As with anything you post online, you are basically responsible of checking the comments and managing them. Of course having a very popular profile or getting lots of comments and likes on a photo makes you more susceptible to spam on Instagram. It's just the way it is. Nothing to it. You can always report the spam and that will help Instagram to be able to stop the spam from happening in the future. There's no foolproof way to stop spam and any automated spam prevention can stop legit comments and profiles appearing. Thus automatic spam control is not really an answer.
While there's no real way to completely get rid of spam anywhere online, there are ways to report and avoid spam on Instagram. It's not automatic and you cannot expect anyone else to do it for you. It requires your own activity and taking control over your own profile and photos.
Is your Instagram account posting spam or are you afraid your account could start spamming? Read this for why it happens and how to stop it from happening.
This post was updated in 2016, to reflect the UI and other changes of Instagram. The 2018 updated post is available at Dealing with Instagram spam.