Instagram announced late on Friday it planned to tackle its massive spam problem head on, devoting a number of engineers to fixing the issue inside the service.
“There’s no quick fix, but we have a team of engineers working every day to tackle the issue and we hope you’ll notice their improvements,” Instagram said, appropriately enough, in the comments section of a recent photo taken from the official Instagram account.
Take a look at the “Explore” tab inside the Instagram app, and click on any one of the pictures. They’re flooded with spammy comments, ads for promotional accounts and Web sites. Same thing with the account of any major celebrity who uses the service and has a large following.
But now that the small start-up has been acquired and folded into Facebook, CEO Kevin Systrom has the resources and experience of the world’s largest social network to help Instagram in the fight. Facebook has lots of background in this area, having fought against spammers intensely over its eight-year existence with tools like the artificially intelligent Facebook Immune System, and having even gone after some well-established spammers in court.
No word on how Instagram is going to crack down internally, but externally, Instagram wants users to help in a sort of community watch program, flagging spam by clicking through to spammers’ accounts and reporting them.