Photo-sharing platform Instagram has announced an initiative that will target fake likes and comments.
The company said it had developed tools that identify accounts that use third-party services and apps to artificially boost their popularity.
Any accounts violating will be warned and told to change their password.
Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become a tool for online influencers to amass large followings and often, in turn, get paid to market products.
Payment for this form of advertising is often scaled by the size of the influencer’s online audience and engagements but an online investigation by marketing agency Mediakiz last year showed just how easy it is to become a fake influencer.
Some popular apps utilised by users to boost their followings have been recently shut down, but others that pay monthly subscription fees are still available, website Techcrunch reports.
These services often require users to hand over their private log in information, something Instagram warns violates its community guidelines and compromises individual security.
The firm says people who continue to use third-party apps to fake activity “may see their Instagram experience impacted”.
They said the move is “just another step” to keep Instagram “a vibrant community where people connect in authentic ways”.
It is the latest in a string of high-profile moves by social media firms to secure themselves against misinformation, fake users and fraudulent activity.
Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012 for $US1 billion in cash and stock, and has continued to grow in popularity in recent years having passed a billion users.
In September, its founders announced they were leaving the firm after reports of tension between the pair and Facebook.