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The Business of Content

Apr 8, 2019

Back in January, I wrote an article for New York magazine asking whether it’s time for the U.S. government to enact stricter regulation on social media influencers. I pointed to investigations from news outlets like The New York Times that uncovered companies that have sold hundreds of millions of fake followers to willing buyers, most of whom wanted to inflate their online influence.

In many cases, these fake followings were then used to dupe unsuspecting brands into purchasing sponsored Instagram posts. The rising prevalence of fraud within the Instagram influencer community has led to greater scrutiny and efforts to detect such fraud.

To do so, brands now often use software like HypeAuditor, which scans an influencer’s account in search of automated and fraudulent activity. HypeAuditor recently leveraged its data to generate a report on the current state of Instagram influencer fraud. I interviewed Yaro Pat, HypeAuditor’s product owner, about the results of the report and how Instagram fraudsters are getting more sophisticated in how they game the Instagram algorithm.