Say Hi To My Instagram Bots
I like Instagram. I can do a hashtag search of “chevy” or “silverado” and stare at trucks all day. The problem is, I don’t have the time. I wish I could be more active on Instagram, but that is a luxury I do not have. If only I could automate my Instagram activity…
Ha! Are you kidding me? You bet I can automate my Instagram activity!
I want to create a bot that searches specific hashtags and likes each photo. Instagram has a web interface for viewing profiles, liking, and commenting. However, it is limited because it doesn’t allow you to search hashtags. That’s okay though. There are several independent websites that utilize the Instagram API to allow users to browse Instagram photos online; I can just abuse one of those.
First, I needed to choose one of the several Instagram web viewers: web.stagram.com, webstagr.am, ink361.com, statigr.am, etc etc. I picked web.stagram.com because there is minimal ajax and that makes my life easier.
Next, I needed to do some http post/get recon work like I did for the Facebook bots. Firebug proves very useful here.
I decided to write this bot in Python using the pycurl library. It didn’t take very long to build (a couple hours while watching TV?). First I tried running it against these hashtags: “linux”, “silverado”, “chevy”, “z71”. The bot did what I expected and liked all of the photos I would normally like. Nice! But then I started getting a little greedy and wanted to engage a lot more Instagramers (instagrammers?). So I looked for a list of the most popular Instagram hashtags. Here is a snippet of the list:
1. #love (+) 100,106,232 photos
2. #instagood (+) 72,788,208 photos
3. #me (+) 56,885,413 photos
4. #cute (+) 53,136,368 photos
5. #photooftheday (+) 52,173,843 photos
6. #tbt (+) 51,407,782 photos
7. #instamood (+) 48,298,484 photos
8. #iphonesia (+) 40,101,981 photos
9. #picoftheday (+) 39,740,152 photos
10. #igers (+) 39,234,496 photos
11. #girl (+) 38,888,469 photos
12. #beautiful (+) 38,754,532 photos
If I run each of these hashtags through my bot, I can engage a LOT of people! So I did exactly that…
It worked well. A little too well. I took a look at the list of “photos I liked”. With no discretion whatsoever, my bot liked everything! Not only did it like photos of scantily clad women (oops?), but it liked photos of topless men (wth!), and photos of underage girls and boys (Yikes! Why the heck are you kids on Instagram?). Oops… I swear it wasn’t me! It was my bot!
Now I feel like a creep. If I keep running the bot, I suppose I can gain lots of new followers… but at what cost? Looking like a creep. Is it worth it? Maybe.
I invite you to check out the source code if you’re looking to build and study bots. Download from github. Please don’t abuse this bot. The truth is, I like Instagram and I don’t want it to be saturated with spammers.
Instagram didn’t find my bot too amusing. They disabled my account and removed all my photos. Yes, I have the the direct URI for some of my Instagram photos (on S3) and even those stopped working. So… just a fair warning: If you’re trying to run this bot to get followers, you may end up losing your account. I only ran this bot for a full 2 days (and I was gaining 1-200 followers a day) before my account was disabled.
So my @cranklin account is gone and I’m starting from scratch with @crankerson 😦