4 Comments

Summary:

Instagram, which recently launched its video-sharing service and hit 130 million monthly active users, is facing a serious spam attack from a fruit diet company.

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Updated at 1.59 pm, June 29, 2013: If you are an Instagram user, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen quite a few photos of fruit appearing in your stream recently, along with messages extolling a miracle fruit diet. Spammers are posting the photos to a user’s profile, as well as changing the URL in that person’s bio.

The scale of this seems to be pretty large. The link (which has been generated through bit.ly for some users) takes you to a fake BBC page and is getting a lot of attention. The stats for that bit.ly link are shown in the graphic below, with more than 30,000 clicks so far. It appears to be one of the first large-scale spam attacks to hit Instagram, a service that has grown expontentially over the past year. The service, which just launched video two weeks ago, now gets 130 million active users per month.

I have asked Facebook, Instagram’s new owners, to offer more clarity as to what is going. We’ll update the post when we hear back. Updated at 1.59 pm, June 29, 2013: Here is an update from Facebook

Earlier today a small portion of our users experienced a spam incident where unwanted photos were posted from their accounts. Our security and spam team quickly took actions to secure the accounts involved, and the posted photos are being deleted.

Given by the reaction to our post especially among those who I follow on Twitter and others who follow me, I wouldn’t characterize it as “small portion” of users. The Facebook/Instagram team still hasn’t offered an explanation as to what went wrong. I eagerly await details. Here are some examples of spammy photos that look like normal photos of fruit:

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Instagram password reset

PS: I am choosing not to link to the page mostly because I don’t want to give spammers any more traffic.

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  1. Philippe Jeudy Saturday, June 29, 2013

    No pain, no gain :)

  2. Antioxidants are good. Virtually thousands of randomized, double-blind, placebo-based studies published in JAMA, Lancet and other mainstream medical journals show that free-radical scavengers help improve overall health. Fruits are full of antioxidants. Mangosteen is a fruit. Just like strawberries, kiwis, oranges, grapefruits, pomegranates, açaí berries, ningxia wolfberries, and you name it. When consumed as part of a balanced diet, they’re all good for you. But there is nothing “miraculous” about this or any other fruit. These are just scummy bottom-feeders looking to make a quick buck from the gullible.

  3. Jeremy Pepper Saturday, June 29, 2013

    Nice to know that IG knew about the issue, but they didn’t delete the photo (I did), nor did they send me an email.

    But hey, they launched IG Video so it’s all good.

  4. Polina Volkova Saturday, June 29, 2013

    Just read an article about it in this russian newsblock http://lenta.ru/news/2013/06/30/instafruit/ and I’m shocked! This photo is from my instagram and I’m NOT a spamer! Please remove my photo of mangostine from your collage http://instagram.com/p/ZwoczPs_UR/! Regards, Polina Volkova, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

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