As an example, there are over 1 million Instagram posts using the Coinbase hashtag, almost all of which display suspicious behavior. Coinbase didn't comment on these campaigns, other than saying: “We don’t have any active influencer campaigns.” Instagram isn’t tackled in the company’s blog post about social media frauds.
Haphazard efforts by Instagram to curtail this trend occassionally harm entrepreneurs like influencer and educator Rachel Siegel, better known as Crypto Finally. She was de-platformed from Instagram in July. For a number of days she was among at least three real crypto influencers, all young women, who lost access to their accounts.
“I think that the policies for impersonation should be looked at, there are many fake accounts impersonating me that are are still live on Instagram,” Siegel said. “I believe new measures should be taken to protect their users from falling prey to impersonators. Banning the original creator makes the problem much worse.”
As with Siegel, the Argentinian influencer Catalina was also suspended. Instagram spokesperson Raki Wane said, “The account was taken down unintentionally, when the mistake was discovered we reversed our decision.”
It is clear that COVID-19 fraud trends are moving faster than moderation practices. There are still many authentic influencer accounts doing genuine giveaways on Instagram as part of their COVID-19 marketing strategies.
Despite this climate, Instagram does provide an important platform for the Bitcoin industry. In Latin America for example, some crypto businesses rely heavily on Instagram to communicate with customers about their products.
Talking about the global dynamics of Crypto Instagram, where users struggle to identify authentic accounts, Siegel said she hopes Instagram “will create a new model that will enable them to better protect their users.”