Suddenly, overnight my site had a spike in new followers. Wondering what was driving this new rush i was puzzled to find that most were ‘fake’ accounts. Investigating further through the WordPress support forum i discovered it is an ongoing issue. The assistance i received from a WP Community Guardian suggested that i remove the followers but as there is no way to block these accounts it appears that this action merely triggers an automatic ‘re-follow’.
Though the response from the WP Community Guardian is reassuring – “….. site followers do not have special access to your site, therefore they don’t have any special access or present a security threat to you, your site, or your legitimate readers.”
Personally, I’m not entirely convinced, as when trying to track further details through the gravatars my anti-virus software signals a warning that the certificate of use is suspicious and is possibly leading to a site attempting to acquire personal information. Meanwhile i have beefed up security on my account by setting up a two-step login but, worryingly there is no way to protect information on the Gravatar site.
It would be interesting to know how widespread this scourge of fake followers is in affecting the WordPress community; are there key words which trigger the bots; is it region related? Anybody else being plagued by these unwanted pests?
Given that there has been much discussion recently on the Twitter and Instagram platforms about purging fake followers perhaps we should be anticipating some action from our WordPress Community Guardians in finding a solution as well?
Further reading – “Fake Instagram Followers bring numerous security risks”