Saturday, 22 April 2017

What It's Really Like To Be Falsely Accused Of Using Bots


The morning after the scandalous blogger bot drama unfolded, I woke up absolutely clueless. I was merely sipping sleepily on my regular morning coffee (milk, no sugar) getting ready for my regular morning blogosphere catch up - when my phone caught fire. Not in the literal sense, obviously as this would have indefinitely led to a student-blogger breakdown, but my phone blew the hell up. I was getting DM's on all of my social media channels, and I even had a text from someone like "hol wtf". I, myself, was like umm... wtf?

Suddenly I recieved screenshots of tweets from my blogger pals (you da best <3) of random bloggers "outing" me. Honestly, I didn't even really know what the whole "outing" was all about. I was just sitting there trying to enjoy my coffee and catch up on the beauty-tube tbh. It was only until I began my own snoop around the blogosphere that I realised what was actually happening here. I was being accused by multiple bloggers of using bots.

Now if you're not sure what the whole bot thing is about (if you haven't 1. where the fuck have you been, and 2. you're so bloody lucky) - bots are some form of service that ANY social media user can pay for to follow/unfollow, comment, etc on people's photos through the use of certain user-chosen hashtags.



How did these bloggers accuse me? They screenshotted, or were sent screenshots by anonymous bloggers, and decided to post them for everyone on Twitter to see. It's worth noting here that I wasn't tagged in any of these posts so I could defend myself. Then, other bloggers proceeded to like and comment on them like "omg" / "thought so" / " no way" / etc etc etc. Again, I wasn't tagged in any of these either. I only found out because lovely bloggers out there sent them to me in DM's so that I would have a chance to fairly defend myself.

The screenshots were from IG, of posts I had liked of apparently "random foreign men/women" - one example of which was from a spanish girl who liked my latest post, so I liked back her lastest one of a new dress and lipstick she'd dolled herself up with. Her posts were in Spanish, not english, and the "outers" claimed that the language she spoke should give me grounds to be uninterested by her engagement or her content. Because people like that clearly don't deserve a like back from someone of my blogging calibre. 

Wanna know the reason for my like backs?

TKL thought process: Hmmm I'm losing engagement from this IG algorithm, maybe liking back will boost more likes to my page? XXX from Turkey liked my photo, so I'll like his back and share the love. 

Simple. Nothing malicious, nothing paid for, nothing to worry about. WRONG. 

The "outers" has no form of evidence but screenshots of these likes, and when I provided them with  my own screenshots of the most recent liking activity on my account, they simply brushed it off like it didn't matter. It was very much like they had already made up their minds and I was this evil cow trying to buy my way through the blogging industry. 

If at this point you're rather curious as to whether I'm using bots, you can go and check out my Social Blade. My followers and engagement have been falling for months. I've been stuck on 20K followers for a year now due to changes in Instagram itself, and a blogging hiatus. But these bloggers wouldn't even know that, because they had never spoken to me before.

The act of being falsely accused of this sinister bot activity really did affect me in ways that I don't like to admit. I cried, alot. I cried for about an hour. I also had a panic attack. I instantly thought my blogging career was over and the whole blogosphere was against me. All for just liking back on Instagram, and not discriminating on who I give those likes to. It seemed simultaneously both quite ridiculous and very serious, and I honestly did not know what to do.

I lost almost 100 followers on IG within the space of a few hours, and I felt like my own business, blog, even my name was being trashed and dragged through the mud - and after I showed all of my evidence there wasn't anything else I could say or do about it. I would have felt completely hopeless without the help of some amazing blogging friends who were there to stand up for me, and for that they have all of my love.



What broke my heart the most, was that these bloggers were absolutely 100% ready to throw me under the bus - without communicating with me first, or even tagging me to give me the fair opportunity to defend myself. 

BTW, the bloggers that falsely outed me didn't even apologise. Most just deleted the tweets and said they had every reason to be "suspicious" and that they did not regret tweeting and telling everyone about it, as they didn't put it in words that they were outing me. They were just simply, quote un-quote, letting people decide for themselves.

This doesn't make any sense because if they tell their followers they're going to tweet the usernames and screenshots of people suspected of bot use, and then do so, people will assume that that person is indeed using bots. It doesn't need to be said in words, it was inferred from the content they provided to their followers. They really didn't care whether or not I was using bots, they didn't care if everyone assumed I was. 

This gets me to the point of angry. How dare they, without any concrete knowledge, even suggest something of this severity?  Obviously I'm not suggesting that bot-use is okay, but accusing someone of using bots with no solid evidence is simply wrong, it really is.  An accusation like this could completely break a blogger, destroy everything they've worked for, even their livelihood. It's not justified, and it's completely wrong. 

Please do keep in mind that this was over a few likes. Likes on posts from someone who isn't english-speaking, isn't generically attractive, doesn't have an IG husband to take their pics, might be a 40 y/o guy trying to use IG for the first time, or maybe it's just a new blogger whose posts aren't #fblogger material.

Did you know that people in the blogosphere are strictly NOT allowed to have any form of contact with anyone that isn't obvious "body goals" or #minimalist? Like or comment on posts that aren't clearly #flatlaygoals? Better sort that out huns, because you might be next on the "outing" list.

If this isn't social media gone mad, I don't know what is.

Please note - intended sarcasm / no bots were used to write this post, promise

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17 comments

  1. As a tiny blogger, I watched some of the "bot outing drama" from the sidelines, a bit confused and not willing whatsoever to take part. But what did really irk me - and is something you mentioned yourself - is that liking posts from foreign accounts is evidence of using bots. What?! Social media and Instagram are things that connect the entire world, and some people think it's only okay to stick to English-speaking pages? Personally, I follow probably 20+ pages from people who speak a different language to me, a picture is universal and if you want to read the caption it takes 2 minutes to translate. It's a ridiculous assumption. Anyway, thanks to the drama I found your lovely blog so I'm quite glad! But still I feel so bad for you, it must be an awful feeling!

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  2. omg!!!! i am so sorry to see this. i can totally totally understand the trauma that can come with social media accusations. you take BEAUTIFUL pictures and i hope to see your instagram grow to 200k girlie <3

    Noor Unnahar | Noor's Place

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  3. It was so unfair of them all to target you, when you've worked very hard to get where you are! I do the same thing, where I like back a majority of those who liked my content! :) Tania Michele xx

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  4. I saw the #Botgate drama unfold on Twitter over the Easter Weekend, and I saw your Tweets about the situation.

    In my opinion, I don't believe in buying bots/followers/likes whatever. It's really unfair because it takes times to build up a following and unless you have loads of followers brands and PR won't look twice at you. Blogging is now a numbers game unfortunately. I know that for myself, I'd rather build up a following in a genuine way and let it grow organically.

    But when certain people started 'outing' others, I really didn't like that at all. A lot of allegations and false accusations were flying around, and that didn't sit right with me at all so I kind of took a step back and didn't get involved in that way. I really don't think it's anyone's place to out anyone, and I really didn't see the point of 'seeking' out bloggers allegedly buying bots for the purpose of exposure. I didn't have the time, effort or energy for it and it's really not in my nature. Plus, it was the Easter break - I was too busy relaxing.

    I really think you should just keep on doing your thing, and don't stop blogging because of these bot allegations.

    :)

    Chichi
    chichiwrites.com

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  5. Some people are just terrible. I reckon some were pointing fingers to hide their own guilt. So childish. Sorry you had to deal with that.

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  6. Jealousy always turns people ugly.
    & that's definitely what this is.
    People are frustrated that they don't have the same success with their blog as you lot do!
    The only way people can go far is by helping each other out, not tearing each other down. Also, the people doing the 'outing' are the ones that look ridiculous and people don't like to follow negative people.

    I love reading your posts! x

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  7. I'm so sorry you had to ensure that.

    The problem with our community is that as soon as something happens to rock the boat - some people tend to quickly jump in and try 'cash in' on the situation with no regard to peoples reputation and careers. All they want is to be a part of the next big media storm, and have their name plastered all over the 'expose' without caring a jot about the community they think they're representing.

    Who needs friends in blogging when you can throw someone under the bus and get more likes and retweets, right?

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  8. Such a drama over nothing! Using bots is wrong but these bloggers have no solid way to prove who is/isn't so should just keep quiet really rather than going round accusing people. I always like back peoples photos no matter who they are it's just courtesy and a way to increase engagement. Of course everyone wants to grow their following organically and engaging/posting good content is the best way to do it? Duh....

    Good that you held your own though girl who cares if you lost a few followers over this, the majority are still here and you'll gain more who don't believe BS!

    Evie- www.ohevie.com

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  9. We love you Hol! <33 I'm so sorry that you got caught up in this. I do hate that people are using bots and I do think it's a good thing that people are realising - but being falsely accused sucks quite frankly! I can't imagine how horrible it was for you. xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

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  10. I'm so sorry you had to suffer with this, it's just not fair to accuse people in such a way especially when there is no evidence! I was called out on Instagram by a girl who looked me up on Social Blade, fair play on her point it said I had unfollowed around 150 accounts in one day so it looked like I was doing the nasty F/UF game, when actually I had just cleared out a load of inactive accounts! It's really sad and horrible to think there are people out there who just want to make others unhappy and put a downer on their success. You're doing great BTW Hol!

    Alice | alicemaysnell

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  11. What a fantastic post! I saw you getting "outed" and I thought it was ridiculous. I don't understand how liking 1/2 photos that weren't what people deemed "normal" to like out of the several it shows on Instagram is an excuse to accuse someone of using bots. It makes no sense. People seemed to be using Social Blade information really badly with not much clue about what they were doing - leading to false accusations! I'm sorry you went through this.

    Ella

    http://www.ellamaygarrett.com

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  12. People are literally nuts. What is wrong with this world and why the fuck can people not mind their own damn business?! I was "outed" here for "buying followers" a couple months ago, but I didn't do the literal buying. I participated in a loop giveaway that gained me almost 30k followers. Sure it's not everyone's cup of tea, I get that. Especially in the U.K., that is "taboo" but IDGAF. Anyway, I was outed and removed from a blogger group I was an admin in with no warning and no confrontation. I then posted in a larger group explaining that the giveaway I was in gained X amount and I did not buy followers from a sketchy site. People assume the worst because they're jealous. I have a full team that manages my social media. So sorry if one of them likes something "I wouldn't normally like" give me a fucking break. People need to spend their time doing community service and doing things of value, not accusing someone without true evidence. And the only evidence someone would have is a receipt from a sketchy bot company. Good luck haters! So sorry this happened to you, I know what it's like and while you may not agree with Loop giveaways, I am a fan and feel growth happens when giving prizes. Anyway, sorry for the rant. Keep your chin up. You're doing wonderful things! xx

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  13. I luckily found this blog post on twitter, and I loved every second of reading it. It's such a shame that something like this happen to you. I knew this was a huge issues sometime last week or so, but I didn't personally know anyone who used bots. I could imagine how terrible it must have been to feel like the whole blogging sphere was against you. There are always going to be malicious people who try to put people down, especially in this type of industry, but you kept your head high and defended yourself the best you could. Some people are going to believe you and some people aren't. I for one found you after this scandal, and I believe you full heartedly. Keep doing you, and there will be people who continue to love you for you. All the best xxx

    Melina | www.ivefoundwaldo.com

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  14. Thankfully, I seem to have missed most of the blogger bot drama. Thank god for that! But I can only imagine how awful it must have been to have those accusations levelled against you. For, obviously, no good reason! I think it's really great that you wrote this post; it's only right that you should get to tell your side of the story too. As you said, it's definitely a case of social media gone mad. I actively follow and like people who don't often post on IG in English, so maybe I'll be being accused next! :O x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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  15. You are the best and I really hope you bounce back from this. Such a horrid thing to do, I mean based on a few likes? Lol, pathetic. Love you mucho. xx

    Kathryn | Chapters of Kat

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  16. That is heart breaking honestly I'm truly sorry that you had to deal with it I never knew about the blog drama (aside one from yesterday over twitter) perhaps I'm still new in the blogging world but I'm glad that you are still here stronger than ever.
    xo
    Michelle| www.brokebutflawless.blogspot.com

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  17. This post makes my heart heavy. It sucks that you were made to feel that way. The whole bot drama got way too out of hand especially the way it made people feel!! Just keep doing what you're doing gal and everyone will still love you x

    Abi | abistreetx

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