Recently, Instagram conducted an InstaPurge of fake fans from user accounts. Some celebrity accounts saw significant drops in fan counts due to the fake fan purge.
Several friends have asked me, "What are fake fans and what are real fans?"
(Facebook) FB and Instagram fans can be classified into 3 types.
Fake fans - These "fans" don't exist at all as they are mostly virtual robot scripts. Instagram recently purged these from some accounts. Everyone agrees that these are fake fans as they are not humans at all.
Farmed fans - These are real human FB or Instagram accounts harvested through contests or giveaways. The tactic is to require people wishing to be eligible for a lucky draw prize to enrol as a "fan" by clicking Like on the page (often also required to comment on and share the contest or giveaway post). The farmed fan is definitely interested in the lucky draw prize but not necessarily the account's content. Instagram and FB are so far unable to purge farmed fans as they are real human accounts.
Real fans - These are genuine fans which are gained organically. They are people who voluntarily opt into a FB page or Instagram account because they read and like the content, and want to receive more of it in the future. There is no inducement involved.
One view is that farmed fans and organic fans are the same as they are both real humans.
In a way this is true, in the same way as farmed salmon and wild caught salmon are the same as they are both really salmon. Or, a counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag is the same as a genuine Louis Vuitton bag as they are both bags.
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