Instagram: This Thursday (5), the Vice website denounced a scamming scheme that uses Instagram’s security mechanisms to illegally ban accounts. According to the investigation, clandestine companies take advantage of the social network’s policies against suicide, self-harm and identity spoofing to intentionally tip over accounts.
To make matters worse, it is speculated that these same companies offer services for the recovery of affected accounts. According to the statistics of each user, the values can reach thousands of dollars.
Through message exchanges, one of the service providers, under the pseudonym ‘War’, told Vice that the practice is “a full-time job”. Charging $60 per ban, about $315 in direct conversion, he claimed to have earned more than five figures in less than a month and says he doesn’t know the main reason people hire him.
“Maybe it’s your exes or an old grudge. Perhaps to ruin business, perhaps they are being paid even more by third parties,” he replied. He adds that, in any case, they are people “with money to spend”.
As it happens?
Among the methods listed, ‘War’ carries out the ban through an identity falsification report. The scammer uses one of his verified accounts to copy the target’s profile, from the profile picture — which must be a human being — biography to his other information. In this way, he is able to terminate the original account, taking it down.
One of the interviewed victims said she had the account banned after someone fraudulently reported her for violating Instagram’s policy on suicide or self-harm. She explains that some victims received messages offering the account restoration service almost immediately after the ban — which would confirm a connection between the businesses.
When contacted, Instagram said that it is investigating the sites that offer these services and that it will ban people from the platform who are violating its guidelines. The company also asks users to report suspicious behavior and, in cases of banning, look to the official support page for help.