On the topic of fake likes and followers, social media sites are well aware of bots and auto-post programs. Most of them have increased security measures to prevent them from being generated. Alas, no system is perfect, but if you take into consideration that if Facebook doesn’t delete thousands upon thousands of fake accounts every single day, we’d be swimming in spam! But it’s always refreshing to see a social media network come out and openly condemn these backhanded methods of generating false popularity. Recently Pinterest gave an official statement on paid Pins and Followers: they don’t like it (http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/02/buying-pins-on-pinterest.html).
So what are these bots? What are their capabilities? Well, they’re actually quite ingenious! With programs like NinjaPinner and NinjaGram (both made my the same company), users log in to their Pinterest and Instagram accounts through a platform that can gather usernames, pictures, and posts through keywords and tags. With just a click of a button, the program can automatically follow other users, like and repin pictures on Pinterest, and even like the last 5 pictures posted on someone’s Instagram account! To counteract potential abuse, both Pinterest and Instagram added a buffer, a limit on how many actions you can take per minute, hour, or day. In response, NinjaPinner and NinjaGram added a feature that allows you to set a time delay before the next action.
You can see the benefits of these automated programs. It takes the clicking and searching of the hands of the Social Media Marketer, thus saving a lot of time for other tasks. At the same time it takes accuracy out of the equation. Without a person at the helm, there’s no way to assess whether certain accounts are active, influential, or an asset to the company overall. Instead, it serves more as a method to gather impulse “Like Backs” from the users you’ve gathered in a wide, blind net. This, of course, feeds into the notion that Likes and outward appearances are an important factor in a company’s online presence.
Do you use them? Do the benefits outweigh the consequences? Yes, they can grab hundreds of thousands of new potential users every week, but they can also be used to mange your current list of Followers/Following. They can have their place in social media, but no one should ever think they can replace a living, thinking human being.