I love Instagram. I love that I can find out about indie sewing pattern designers and small fabric shops through Instagram. I love that I can check out what other people have made with certain patterns before I try them out for myself. I love that I can make things and share them with other people who sew and will appreciate all of the work that went into them. I love that everyone who’s ever wanted to be a model can now be one with just the help of a friend or a selfie stick (I hate modelling myself but more power to those who do!)
I also hate Instagram. I hate that people become so preoccupied with gaining followers they’ll go so far as to pay a marketing company to provide them with fake ones so they look more popular or important. I hate that these companies are trying to rip off people’s identities in an attempt to create realistic looking followers to sell to their customers. I hate that it’s so hard to tell when we come across one of these fake accounts while scrolling through our favorite hashtags without digging much deeper.
Over the past few days I’ve found a lot of suspicious looking accounts on Instgram through sewing related hashtags. What initially tipped me off was, while scrolling through the #sewcialists hashtag, I clicked on a few profiles and noticed they didn’t have a lot of followers. I liked their photos (each account only having one or two) and decided to follow them. By the third profile this happened with, I noticed one of the posts was a #BestNine2018 photo with nine pictures of different handmade garments. I thought this was weird since the profile only had three posts altogether. That’s when I started to dig deeper.
Luckily, the sewing community has a lot of hashtags that aren’t inundated with photos (like hashtags for specific patterns), so the original post is pretty easy to locate. To track back to the original user’s photo, I’ll start by clicking on the hashtag that I think will have the least amount of photos. This gives me a lot less to weed through as looking for an old post may be like trying to find a needle in a haystack sometimes.
Here are some examples of usernames for fake accounts I’ve found over the past few days:
Signs that an account might be fake:
- The username begins with numbers.
- The user has a very small number of followers but is following a very large number of people in comparison.
- The accounts the user is following are random and odd. (What gives it away for me when it’s a sewing related account is if the user isn’t following a lot of other sewing related accounts. Sometimes they’re not following any at all.)
- Their photos have very few likes.
- I remember liking the same photo from another username previously. A lot of times, businesses will re-post a photo of someone using their products so it’s not always suspicious looking. This is when it’s important to look at the username. If you still aren’t sure and it’s important to you, this is when you should go to their profile and see how many followers they have as opposed to how many people they are following. Who’s following them and who are they following in return? This is usually the dead giveaway. Like I said, for sewing enthusiasts it’s usually easy to tell it’s fake if they’re not following a lot of sewing related accounts. So it may be a lot harder to tell on more broad based profiles.
Reasons You Probably Don’t Want Someone Impersonating You On Social Media:
- You don’t want an account with your profile picture on it following another account or liking photos from another account with beliefs you don’t agree with.
- That’s your identity! It’s not for some marketing company to sell to someone to make that person look more popular!
So, I beg of you, please be more aware when liking photos on Instagram and report something if you see it. As social media and the sewing community become more involved, we can form a sort of neighborhood watch type of accountability program to protect each other. I don’t think we should let this get in the way of our enjoyment of using Instagram to be inspired by and discover other makers, but this is something we should all be aware of while we’re scrolling through our feeds or hashtags.