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How To Remove Fake Followers: The Ultimate Guide

Daniel Cruz

By Daniel Cruz
9 min READ | Oct 13 2022

Imagine holding a speech in front of a massive crowd. The stage lights are blinding you, but you can distinguish your audience’s shapes.

The arena is full, you can tell.

The surprise comes after finishing your speech.

Although it’s one of your best talks, there is no roaring crowd applauding you. There are just a few claps here and there.

As the lights fade, you can see just a dozen people surrounded by lifeless mannequins.

Just like those mannequins can’t understand, react to, and act upon your speech, neither can fake followers. You feel cheated and distraught.

Here’s the thing:

Having fake followers can ruin your entire reputation because your engagement rates are unlikely to match your follower base with fake followers. As a result, an account with fake followers doesn't look too attractive to potential followers. Moreover, it won’t be interesting to businesses looking to collaborate with you.

It also creates obstacles in connecting with genuine micro-influencers with relevant audiences who have real accounts.

But you’re on the right page to solve that problem.

In this guide, we’ll take you through step-by-step instructions on how to remove fake followers from Instagram. That will help you connect with your real audience, improve your notoriety, and increase sales.

Remember: Follow count is not everything — authentic engagement and User-Generated Content (UGC) are what matters.

What Are Fake Followers?

A fake follower is simply a bot or fake profile that follows social media accounts and doesn’t engage with them.

Your target audience should be real people – organic followers who can actually act upon your content.

However, statistics show that:

  • In 2019, Instagram had 95 million fake follower accounts. Out of Instagram’s 1 billion users (at that time), that figure represents 9.5%.
  • TikTok isn’t doing any better; the channel had 65 billion fake likes during the second quarter of 2022 and 10 billion fake follower requests.
  • Businesses and influencers mainly use bot followers to inflate their list of followers and make it seem like they’re more popular than they really are.
  • 77% of mega-influencers were involved in fraud to inflate their follower numbers and engagement rates in 2020 and 62.8% in 2021.
  • As per international cybersecurity firm reports, in 2019, around $8.5 billion was spent on influencer marketing globally. But 15% of the followers that 'saw' the posts that brands had paid for were bot users. This means more than $1.2 billion was thrown away on fake accounts; not such a good return on investment.

Why Are Fake Followers Harmful to Your Account

I know what you’re thinking:

Bots cannot engage with your content, but doesn’t it help to have a larger following? When prospects see many other people following your account, aren’t they more likely to follow it too?

From that perspective, it may seem like you’re building social proof.

That way of thinking is dangerous because having tons of followers and hundreds of inauthentic likes and comments decreases your engagement rate.

Your active followers sharing their real experiences won’t have a large community to interact with. There will be no meaningful conversation for them.

They will be surrounded by lifeless mannequins too.

In a nutshell, unwanted followers:

Decrease Your Engagement Rate

Your social media engagement rate shows how many interactions happen on your posts versus how many followers you have or how much content you post. It's a way to measure the quality of your content and the overall engagement of your audience.

Take this example:

Cristiano Ronaldo has the most followed Instagram account in 2022, but he has a fair problem with fake accounts, as you can tell:

Source

Compare those stats with a more engaged micro-influencer like Nurse Alex (@thatalexrn), who gets an “Exceptional” rating with zero fake followers:

Source

Spam Your Comment Section

You've likely come across numerous occurrences of individuals with no followers or profile pictures posting fake comments on social media posts, like "love this" or "cool!"

Inauthentic activity does more harm than good, as these spammy comments stop genuine comments and real conversations from gaining traction. If your followers think their meaningful comments will get lost in a sea of bots, they simply won't comment.

That’s why it’s wise to find quality influencers in the first place - content creators with real, engaged followers.

May Get You Banned

Sometimes unreal followers and bots can get you banned from social media, as it's considered a fraudulent practice to get comments from accounts that are fake. For instance, Instagram invariably purges these kinds of followers and even reserves the right to suspend accounts that indulge in fake interactions.

Ultimately, the aim is to increase social media engagement by gaining organic followers from your target audience and building genuine interactions.

Therefore, fake profiles skew your engagement statistics and make your page look spammy.

How to Recognize Fake Followers

The following signs indicate a profile has fake followers in abundance:

  • Larger accounts with low engagement
  • A significant variation in the number of likes per photo
  • A lot of followers with locked accounts

Currently, hundreds of thousands of accounts are out there trying to collect as many fake followers as possible to boost their numbers.

Usually, they have random, unrecognizable names with very few followers. Additionally:

  • They may follow many accounts. So, the follower-to-following ratio is skewed.
  • They post either plagiarized or low-quality content.
  • Their content receives zero or very few likes or comments.
  • They have suspicious activity, following and commenting on random accounts.

A spam follower is easy to spot. Source

How to Remove Fake Instagram Followers Manually

​​There are three manual methods of plucking your fake Instagram followers from among your real users.

And all start with identifying spam accounts hiding among active users.

As per social media marketing experts, strong engagement falls from around 1% to 5%. The average Instagram engagement rate was 1.94% in 2022.

So, if your followers are not engaging with your posts, or your engagement falls outside those figures, it's time to delete some accounts.

Example of a suspicious bot account with many followers but stock-like photos and zero comments. Source

It’s also a good idea to periodically remove those who haven’t interacted with you in a while. They have likely forgotten they followed you, anyway.

Method 1: Block Problem Accounts on Your Profile

You can easily block problem accounts from your follower list following the cleaning process below:

  1. Click on your profile picture or the profile icon.
  2. Click on the icon with three lines from the top right, then click on the "Settings" icon.

Found a spam follower? Block them!

  1. Next, click the "Privacy" option and head to the "Blocked Accounts" option.
  2. To add a person to your blocked accounts list, tap the plus icon and search for the username you want to block. Finally, tap the "Block" option to the right of their name.
  3. You can also block the account and any other new accounts they may create by tapping "Block" at the bottom. Or, to block only that account, tap the circle next to "Block [person's name]." To confirm, tap "Block" again.

Block Fake Followers through Direct Messenger

  1. In the top right of the feed, tap the "Messenger" icon.
  2. Click on the chat with the person who you want to ban.
  3. At the top of your chat, click on the person's name.
  4. Click "Block" and then click again to confirm.

Block Fake Followers through Their Profile

  1. Go to their feed or a story post and click on their username. Or, tap "Search" to search for their username and visit their profile.
  2. If you are on an iPhone or computer, click the horizontal three-dot icon, or Android users can click the vertical three-dot icon in the top right.
  3. To block their account and any other new accounts they may create, click "Block" at the bottom. Or, to block only that account, tap the circle icon next to "Block [person's name]." Finally, click "Block" again.

How to Remove Fake Instagram Followers Automatically

To ensure that you are followed by legitimate accounts, use tools to check your actual audience quality.

For instance, you can use inBeat's Instagram Fake Follower Checker tool to check the average engagement rate, average likes, and average comments per post.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open the fake follower checker page here.
  2. Add the account’s username in the search bar, preceded by the “@” symbol.
  3. Click on the “Check followers” button next to this search bar.
  1. Wait until the tool retrieves the profile.
  2. Scroll down to check the metrics, such as:
  • Audience score: Located in the upper left corner, this rating tells you whether the account you’re checking has a quality audience or not.
  • Real and inactive followers: Located in the upper right quadrant, these two metrics show you how many real and inactive accounts the profile has. While active followers are more trustworthy, silent ones are suspicious.
  • Follower number, engagement rate, and average likes: These three metrics in the lower-left corner show you whether the profile can create a good engagement rate with its followers. However, our Instagram Engagement Rate Calculator can help you better analyze follower count, engagement rate, and popular content.
  • Average vs Target: In the lower-right corner, you will find two metrics (average likes and the ratio of comments over likes). Our fake follower checker shows how your chosen profile compares to the target.
  • Latest audience engagement: Located at the bottom, this metric shows you the profile’s different engagement rates during recent timeframes.

An example of what inBeat’s fake follower checker can retrieve. Source

Here’s how to remove fake followers on Instagram using automatic tools:

  1. Choose a third-party app cleaner for Instagram, such as Spam Guard or Nofak.Es.
  2. Go through the setup process.
  3. Set the account removal rate to one per hour to avoid triggering Instagram’s radar. Remember that these bot-account-removal apps are similar to bot-account-creation apps.
  4. Check if your software has completed the job. If not, have it start again.

How to Avoid Fake Followers in the Future

Latest social media statistics suggest that 61% of consumers think audience engagement and transparency make a brand's social presence stand out.

Fake followers are among many tactics that work in the short term but will backfire later.

To build your online credibility, you must:

  • Remove fake accounts or create a new account.
  • Start earning followers by posting valuable content. For example, you could run an Instagram giveaway, hold a poll on Facebook, or start a discussion with a branded Twitter hashtag.
  • Conduct regular checks for bad-quality followers, dead accounts, and inactive accounts as part of your social media workflow. You will earn more trust from others when they see that other people follow your account rather than just having thousands of fake accounts following you.

Once you've expanded your social media research, leverage other mediums like content marketing and email marketing to grow your brand's reputation. These mediums can grow your digital presence and bring more potential customers into your sales funnel.

The first step is finding out which of your followers are fake - so try our fake follower checker so we can do the hard work for you!

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