Everything you need to know about the Instagram algorithm – 2020 – action blocks and businesses

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my blog.

Today’s topic is all about the Instagram algorithm. I have been extremely interested in how the new algorithm (as of 2020) works and how I can succeed in growing my Instagram page now despite the new algorithm making it even harder to gain followers! Instagram remains one of my favourite apps and so I find learning about any new updates or features particularly interesting. I will be sharing two blogs on this topic – I had too much information to share sorry! I will cover everything: from what the algorithm is and how to beat it, to how to avoid (or get rid of) action blocks within these two blogs.

Today’s topics:

– What is something negative about the algorithm?

– How do I get rid of an action block?

– Why do so many ‘spam’ accounts view your stories and interact with you on them?

– Do businesses abuse and exploit Instagram?

If you haven’t already read the part 1 on the Instagram algorithm then you can read it here. I cover many major areas of interest, such as: What Is the Instagram algorithm in 2020, how can you benefit from it and how is the algorithm actually good?

What is something negative about the algorithm?

The algorithm has developed so much that it now becomes difficult to grow and reach other accounts. A few years ago, Instagram users had the ability to copy and paste messages to different people and grow an audience. Now, this form of ‘spam’ is prohibited and users can get action blocked for: copy and pasting messages, following too many people, commenting too fast, commenting too much, liking too many posts and there are so many more ways too! The innocent Instagram user who is not a bot or doing ‘spam’ can now become vulnerable to getting action blocked or even shadow banned (if that is still a thing – Instagram claims it is not real.) Don’t feel disheartened though if you have been action blocked before, as this block usually only lasts for 1-2 days or in some circumstances, marginally longer.

There are some ways that you can get rid of these action blocks

– I have been action blocked before in 2020 and can honestly say that I have never ever had to complete the full action block as I am always able to get rid of it! Here is how:

Change or edit your bio.

By doing this, Instagram realises that you are not a bot or automation service, but instead a real account! I have tried this before and it has worked!

Log out of the app or delete and reinstall

I have tried this before but it has never worked for me. Some people claim that it has worked for them though, so it is worth the try!

– Change your password

I have tried this method before and it has worked too! I have only been action blocked a few times, but I find that this is definitely the most effective way for me to get rid of an action block! Instagram believes that because you have changed your password, you cannot be a bot.

– Report to Instagram that you are having ‘a problem’ or that ‘something isn’t working.’

Once I was action blocked this year for commenting too quickly on lots of people’s pages. I was so frustrated and tried all of the above methods on getting rid of the block, but none of them worked. So, I decided to go to settings, find the section where I could contact Instagram and then report to them that I could not like or comment. I honestly did not expect the block to be lifted, but because I sent so many messages to them (I literally spammed them with complaints oops) they lifted the ban. This goes to prove that if you are an innocent user, then you do not need to serve the time length for your ban and let Instagram know it was wrong of them to ban you!

and finally…

– Log out of Instagram for the day and wait until the block goes.

If none of the methods above worked, then maybe you were unintentionally (or intentionally) spamming people. Take a detox from Instagram and wait for the ban to be lifted. It is important to keep Instagram a safe place from spam and bots, so please make sure not to do this again! While logged off of Instagram, take time to reflect on what you did that caused the block and then make sure to not do that again once back on Instagram. If you are not sure what you did – search on the internet to view Instagram’s terms and conditions of use, as well as guidelines.

I would recommend that you definitely log off Instagram if you receive an action block, because 1) there is nothing you can do on Instagram anyway! You may be unable to: post, reply to comments and comment, like photos and follow people etc. 2) If you keep trying to like a post or follow a person and receive the same action block message multiple times, apparently this can lengthen your action block to longer than 1-2 days, so I think that you should just log out of the app for a day or two. Better safe than sorry!

Now it is more important than ever to also stop buying followers or likes, if you already did as this can seriously hinder your growth. I also would not recommend using any automation services on behalf of yourself to return comments or engage with your followers, as Instagram will be able to spot this and will consequently action block you. Recently, many big accounts, especially those that are struggling with engagement as a result of the new algorithm only showing their posts to 10% of their followers, have started using automation services differently…

Ever wondered why so many ‘spam’ accounts view your stories or comment irrelevant comments in your question boxes on stories?

Now that accounts struggle to reach new people and gain followers, they use automation services that will find target accounts similar to theirs and these services will quite literally ‘spam’ around 1000 + accounts a day by voting on their polls on stories, viewing stories and adding spam comments to the question boxes. I think Instagram should definitely sort this out as I (along with so many others) now receive more views from these spam accounts than our own followers on stories. It is also extremely annoying to see when I post a question to my stories and want to see answers from my audience, more than 90% of the responses are from these accounts that do not follow me and post irrelevant comments in the question answer box!

Do businesses abuse and exploit Instagram e.g likes services and follower services?

It is believed that online social networks attract abuse from for-profit services that artificially manipulate a user’s social standing. Social media provides a platform where a single message can be spread to millions of people. However, users with more followers are able to reach a larger audience and therefore are at an advantage to smaller pages that are seeking growth. These larger accounts are typically at the top of the social hierarchy and as a result, this imbalance in Instagram users account sizes has led to organised abuse of the platform. Many services target Instagram users who are desperate to grow their accounts and consequently, a large network of services which aim to bypass organic growth and genuine relationships now operate by creating artificial social network accounts in exchange for a payment.

Instagram users have all come across these services which aim to improve engagement, but do they? Searching into google ‘Instagram likes’ there will be thousands of search results – some which included the website of these infamous automation services, promising to give people ‘100% genuine and real followers’ for ‘only £3.99.’ However, many of these ‘bot-based’ approaches will only provide an account with fake followers, which were made by the service and will not engage with the account. These account automation services will perform actions on a user’s behalf and violate Instagram’s terms and conditions. It has been proven that there are millions of these ‘spam’ and ‘bot’ accounts on Instagram, as Instagram deletes and disables many of these accounts every day. Ever seen a user that has over 20,000 followers but gets less than 100 likes on each post and hardly any comments? Chances are that they use an account automation service for their page. Additionally, in February 2019, Instagram deleted millions of inactive or spam accounts overnight and received public outcry (particularly from influencers who lost hundreds of thousands of followers) and was forced to amend this by restoring many accounts.

When this had happened in 2019, it was clear to see which accounts used these account automation services, as their follower count had dropped immensely. This only reinforces the idea that these account automation services do only provide their customers with fake accounts or inactive ones and is indicative of the peril of using these services.

‘Collusion networks’ is an approach that these account automation services use in order to orchestrate the exchange of many social accounts. Each customer account is used to issue follows or likes to the other customers of these particular services, to create a network of follows and likes similar to the notion of social media.

These services are deemed to be and even proven to be very successful businesses, as many are considered to make approximately $1 million a month. Instagram is one of many forms of social media that is exploited by these services and as a popular form of social media, with more than 800 million users worldwide, the amount of business that these account automation services receive continues to grow rapidly.

In normal use, Instagram users will post photos and videos, sharing them with their followers. Their audience will see their posts and engage with them. Accounts with bigger audiences will understandably gain more engagement on posts. However, some users are tempted to use these account automation services as if they can reach thousands of followers on Instagram, they can successfully reach the ‘influencer’ level of Instagram where they can be paid thousands by brands to promote their products. These economic incentives can lead to people using third party apps and services to grow. Many of these services can manipulate their users and claim they will get more out of their £1 service than any other. These types of services use their customer’s pages to follow and like the content of other customer’s services and vice versa. However, these bot services are easy to detect and so over the years, Instagram has been able to track down the companies behind these artificial ‘bot’ actions.

However, now in 2020, these services have developed and adapted. Some can cost more money as they login to their customer’s accounts and perform actions on their behalf. Most of these services are exploiting and violating Instagram’s terms of use. There are two distinct variations of account automation services: one aims to provide authentic actions to a customer and the other inauthentic. It is interesting to consider how some of these services are much more expensive than others due to their ability to provide more actions to their users such as: likes, follows, comments, unfollows and some even post photos on behalf of users.

How popular are these services?

Demand for these services have boomed recently, especially since the changes in the algorithm have made it even more difficult for instagrammers to grow their followings. Boostgram, one of the most infamous of the services has approximately over 100,000 customers and Hublaagram has approximately a million users. 1/3 of most of these account automation service customers are long term, however, for the successful Hublaagram it is assumed that there could be more than 1/2 of their users that are long-term and returning customers. For some of these businesses, they find they are in high demand now and are receiving more customers than ever, however, others are in decline and find that over the past year, their user figures have dropped drastically. It is interesting to take into consideration how these businesses have grown immensely in the last few years, as a direct result of the changes in the Instagram algorithm. These businesses can make over $200,000 a month. Interestingly, many of their customers care more about like services and are indifferent in receiving fake outbound actions from other users in the ‘collusion network’ approach that most of these services use.

Instagram has a set of measures to reduce the impact of abusive actions and will block account automation services or delay their removal as a countermeasure, which means that the services do not detect that their services have been removed or blocked by Instagram as they still receive custom for a while.

It is unfortunate that social networks such as Instagram attract abuse because of their complicated mechanisms of connecting users with their followers. Whether for social or economic purposes, many people are willing to pay for thousands of ‘followers’ and ‘likes’ on their accounts. These sophisticated services today can manipulate user’s social standings and make their growth appear organic. These services are thriving and are profiting off of the algorithm that Instagram updates, leaving some Instagram users frustrated at their lack of growth and willing to pay for followers. Additionally, many of the users of these services rely on these businesses for many of their likes and followers and find that they become long-term clients once they are happy with the investment into the services. The exploitation and abuse of Instagram’s social network has led to experiments to block these services all together. However, despite being successful in the short-term, these efforts to undermine the power of these businesses can result in failure as they adapt their services and become more sophisticated in making these services appear as organic growth. A more effective long-term strategy would be based on deferred interventions, as such approaches make it possible for Instagram to detect these services and ban them.

The issues surrounding these businesses are very problematic. However, although adapting the algorithm and making it hard to grow on Instagram in 2020 can provide reason for the average Instagram user to seek investment into these services, the new algorithm built on community and genuine relationships with followers makes it easier to spot those accounts that abuse the terms of use in order to improve and boost their social standing within Instagram’s ‘social hierarchy.’

Much of this information on businesses / account automation services came from this paper – I will link it here if you would like more information.

Thank you for reading! I hope you got some value out of it and understood more about how these businesses are prospering from the algorithm changes. I hope this blog has also helped you understand how really the algorithm is a good thing as Instagram is helping us in building strong and loyal communities by changing the way that our posts are viewed! If you would like to read the first blog I have written on the algorithm, then please click here.

If you want to read more of my Instagram content from getting to 1000 followers to 10k then click here to view all of my blogs!

Thank you once again for reading! If you thought this information was useful then please like, share and comment! I’d love to know your thoughts.

Beth Lucy

4 thoughts on “Everything you need to know about the Instagram algorithm – 2020 – action blocks and businesses”

  1. Thank you creating all your Instagram help blogs! I have just been through them after a recommendation from Elise (@speakinguptoday) and they have been so so so helpful!

    Liked by 2 people

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