Do androids dream of Instagramming their electric-sheep noodles in the hope of getting a few hundred likes? A new report from research firm Ghost Data suggests that as many as 9.5% of Instagram users may be bots.
That's up from 7.9% in its comparative study three years ago, despite Instagram (like all social networks) upping its efforts to identify and remove bots from its platform.
"Ghost Data reached their conclusion after buying 20,000 bots to analyse their behaviour. The firm then matched said behaviour with around 1 million accounts, and found that they were very active among the followers of popular Instagram accounts. When they did post content, they were usually photos of models that were found on other websites," explained news site ZeroHedge.
Asked about the findings, Facebook's spokesperson said that "our internal estimates show that spam accounts make up a small fraction of Instagram's monthly active user base" – without saying what fraction.
The claims come as Instagram prepares to crack down on another element of its user-base that shouldn't be there: under-13s. TechCrunch reported that Facebook and Instagram will "more proactively lock the accounts of users its moderators encounter and suspect are below the age of 13", and require proof of age to unlock them again.