The Initiative



Our mission

Using Instagrams algorithm against themselves to end online hate

For too long Instagram has allowed extremists to use their platform to spread content that incites violence and advocates hate. Instagram doesn’t automatically shut down these accounts. However, their algorithm automatically shadow-bans fast growing accounts with fake followers.

Follow Their Leader uses this algorithm against hate spreading accounts by buying them fake followers. All to prove that Instagram has the technology needed to shut down extremist accounts.


How to get involved

Hosting hate speech is

supporting hate speech



The Non-Violence Project Foundation works to inspire, motivate and engage people to prevent and reduce all forms of violence. We believe in the power of education to change mentalities and behaviors.

The two pillars of our mission are awareness raising and education. We believe everyone has a role to play in preventing and reducing of violence.

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Why are you doing this initiative?

Online hate speech is a growing problem, impacting millions of people, while transparency into how social media platforms tackle the problem is limited. In fact, hate speech on the Internet has increased since the pandemic. With this initiative, the Non-Violence Project Foundation wants to draw the attention of both the public and regulators to our call for Instagram to act against growing online hate speech.

Sources: Sky News, Council on foreign relations

Why are you targeting Instagram?

Online hate speech is a challenge on all online platforms, but Instagram has long been able to go under the radar. Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms globally, and the platform with the most users between 18 and 24 years of age (30%). More than Facebook and YouTube. These are young people who spend hours on the platform every day. They are still exploring and finding their identity and are at risk of being exposed to hate speech, or worse still, being recruited to extremist groups.

What do you require from Instagram?

We require Instagram to take more comprehensive measures against hate speech on its platform. Although Instagram has made a few improvements, often in connection with public criticism, the Non-Violence Project Foundation wants to see a solution on how to curb hate speech in the long term. We are happy to work with Instagram to make that happen.

How does it work?

While Instagram doesn’t automatically ban hate-spreading accounts, the algorithm does punish accounts that buy fake followers. In this initiative, we are using Instagram’s own algorithm against itself. We are targeting hate accounts on Instagram by buying them fake followers, which we believe will trigger the algorithms to shadow-ban the accounts and ultimately shut them down.

Does Instagram really punish users for buying fake followers?

Yes. Instagram’s rules for fake followers (and for all Meta platforms) explain that, in case of continued use of third-party apps to buy fake followers, the user will see consequences in the form of limited experience. This “limited experience” is what we understand as becoming shadow-banned.

Sources: Instagram – Reducing inauthentic activity on Instagram

What does it mean to become shadowbanned on Instagram?

It means that your account doesn’t show up on search results or that it shows up further down in a search results. However, it is not an official term used by Instagram.

Why are the accounts hidden?

The chosen accounts are only an excerpt of the massive problem with hate speech on Instagram and are kept anonymous to make sure not to promote specific hate accounts and to keep the focus on the wider challenge regarding hate speech on Instagram.

How did you choose what accounts to target?

All targeted accounts directly violate the terms & conditions of Instagram by either spreading hate speech or inciting violence. Every account chosen should already have been closed by Instagram according to their own terms and conditions.

Sources: Instagram terms and condtions

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