Instagram 'follower bot' service Instagress 'forced to close' by platform

Instagress, a service that helped Instagram users get new followers, has been "forced to close" by the picture-sharing platform.

Describing itself on Twitter as the "best way to get real Instagram followers and become incredibly popular", it last tweeted on Monday. Instagress was founded in 2013.

The website of Instagress has now been replaced with the following note: "Sad news to all of you who fell in love with Instagress: by request of Instagram we were forced to close our web-service that helped you so much in your Instagram journey. We are all very sad of that but it looks like there is nothing we can do at the moment."

Users are told they can still log on to their account to request a refund.

A Bloomberg report on Instagram influencers last year described the use of bots as an "ethical gray area", saying that Instagram does not explicity ban them.

In another article on tech website PetaPixel earlier this month, a writer said using platforms like Instagress was "a way to cheat the Instagram platform" because of the way it automatically likes and comments on posts for a user.

A spokeswoman for Instagram told PRWeek that "we don't comment on other apps", but said, referencing a page on its online help centre: "Our terms make it clear that we don’t allow people to spam others on Instagram."

The closure of the service provoked a strong reaction by Twitter users, with some asking about other services that offer a similar product:

Nik Speller, founder of influencer marketing agency Three Letters, who has blogged on the subject of Instagram bots, said: "It's good that Instagram have taken down Instagress, but there are many more these bot services still live. It's a struggle to see how Instagram will close down all of them; but, all the while they don't, they'll continue to lose trust amongst their user base and amongst the brands who pay so much money to advertise through their service."

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