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Instagram reels
Courtesy of Instagram

Scammers are already selling fake views on Instagram Reels

Customers can pay $5 for 1,000 views, or $15 per 1,000 likes

Earlier this month, Instagram launched a short-form video feature called Instagram Reels, which is basically IG’s answer to TikTok – and it hasn’t taken long for scammers to start selling fake views.

According to Business Insider, one botnet manager – who runs a network of 500,000 Instagram accounts – has already received orders from 80 people for 11 million views in total on Reels. Using encrypted apps like Telegram to do business, he charges $5 per 1,000 views on Reels for up to a maximum of 500,000 views, and $15 for 1,000 likes – paid in Bitcoin.

He refused to say how much money they earned from those transactions, but maintained it was “enough for a good car and a decent home”. Alternatively, you can do the math.

Counting a number of influencers with large followings as customers, he claims that the biggest influencer to ask for help with Instagram Reels so far has 1.5 million followers on the app, reports Business Insider.

Other websites have also emerged, offering 100 likes on a Reel for 75 cents.

Responding to the news, a Facebook spokesperson said: “Inauthentic activity is bad for the community and since the early days of Instagram we’ve invested in ways to identify and remove millions of fake or spammy accounts. We’ll continue to build on these technologies, to maintain the best possible experience across our platforms.”

The launch of Reels on August 5 follows reports of Donald Trump announcing plans to ban TikTok in America. Similar to TikTok, the in-app function allows creators to post videos up to 15 seconds long, with the opportunity to add background music and filters to the video. Creators can also use Instagram’s in-app AR filters to edit images. 

India has already banned TikTok from the beginning of July, in a blanket ban of 59 smartphone apps that also included the popular messaging app WeChat. Lawmakers in Japan are currently pushing to ban the app, while politicians in Australia are considering similar measures.

In the meantime, here’s a list of everything we’ll miss about TikTok.