From Instagram account @servershutdown came a message that read “On March 20th, 2014 Instagram is shutting down their old server. Only accounts with this picture posted on their account will have their files moved onto the new servers”. This has caused major confusion as thousands of Instagram users began to take evasive action to prevent their account from being shutdown.
How do you know that Instagram is an official social network ? Not because you can upload, comment and like pic as you can on other social networks, but because there are hoaxes and scams flying around Instagram that people believe.
Instagram is shutting down their old servers – is a FAKE
Of course this is not real. And yet, 21 953 were gullible enough to believe this random message posted by some random account. They did as they were told, they followed the @servershutdown account in fear of losing their Instagram profile and pics. If Instagram was going to move to new servers, they would do that without anyone noticing. Companies do that all the time as information is migrated seamlessly from one server to another and you are none the wiser (unless things go horribly wrong in the data move…)
Instagram scams and fakes
This server shutdown post is not the first Instagram scam and hoax that fooled people. Past examples targeted companies such as Amazon, Emirates, American Airlines, Ray-Bans amongst many other brands that were faked just to get followers. What is astounding is how many people actually believed these scams which can be seen by the number of followers.
How to tell if an Intagram account is fake ?
Its easy to set up a fake account. Just sign up, choose any account name you wish, set up a fake Gmail or Hotmail or Yahoo email account, and you are ready to go.
Twitter has the ability to distinguish real big brands from fake ones by having the official account listed as “verified” (little blue tick). Instagram does not have such verification system and so whilst there is no fool proof way to determined if an account is real or not here are some tips to look out for:
- Terms and Conditions. Brands can not run competitions without making the entrants aware of their legal terms and conditions. If you don’t see at least a link to the Terms and Conditions that are directed to the official brand’s website, then ignore – its a fake.
- One Account. Brands spend considerable effort to build up their Instagram community. If they are going to host a competition, then it will be under the official brand account and not get its followers to start following a new account.
- The name.Look at the account name – copy account usually have a giveaway in the way they are named eg. Amazon’s fake account was Amazon_Inc, Delta’s fake account was: Deltagiveaways.
- History. Look at when the account stated to post its pictures. Brands don’t get onto Instagram and the first pic they post is a competition.
- Task. What do you have to do to enter? If you have to follow, like, tag, share and put your email address in the comment section, then its probably a fake. No real competition will make its followers jump through those hoops and no real company would expose your personal info like an email address.
Get free likes and followers
Just like other social networks we want to increase the number of followers we have. There are many scams on the web that promise you more followers for only a couple of US Dollars. These “services” are fake and just want your username and password and these services don’t stop online.
The app InstLike promised more likes and followers and since it was downloaded from the official app stores people trusted it. The app requested username and password for Instagram and then the app began liking random photos and started following random people. This lead unsuspecting people into believing it was working as the number of followers increased. The app was indeed working but not in favour of the user who installed it. The app developers were harvesting personal information courtesy of the username and password that were handed over. Eventually this app was stopped and removed from the store.
Real apps and real web services never require your username and password. This is what the Instagram API is for. It is a way to authenticate you on the Instagram system without the developer ever having access to your info.
Companies do run competitions where you can win “stuff” but these are regulated and will be run under official brand’s account and not on “Come-Enter-Info-Here” account with one picture posted. Companies don’t just give away $200 if you follow their account nor will they send you a free pair of <insert item here> just for liking them.
The old saying “if its too good to be true, then its probably is”