If you noticed that your Instagram account has suddenly started following new people on its own, it can be quite alarming!

This is particularly true if you have no idea who the accounts are, and they aren’t people you’re actually interested in following yourselves.

But what causes Instagram to start following random accounts, and what can be done to stop it? Ultimately, it comes down to just a few different reasons, and they’re all easy to fix.

In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!

Why Is My Instagram Following Random Accounts?

Instagram App

If your Instagram account has started following new people on its own, it comes down to one of three things.

Either your account has been compromised, you’ve given access to a tool that allows the following of new accounts, or old, deactivated accounts you followed previously were reactivated.

Most commonly however, this issue is caused due to the account being taken over by someone else – usually spam farms that sell followers to other people.

Additionally, if you used any tools or software in the past to try and grow your following, you may have given them permission to follow other accounts on your behalf. This is most common with shared accounts as well as business accounts, as access could have been granted by someone else.

Finally, if you followed accounts previously that became deactivated, you will follow them again automatically if they reactivate. This is true even if the account holder changes their name and profile information. So, this is a possibility as well – though if your account has started following a lot of people without doing anything (more than just a few), this likely isn’t the reason.

How To Secure Your Instagram Account

Regardless of the exact reason your account has started to follow new people on its own, there are some steps you can take to make your account more secure.

Performing all of these steps will also fix all issues relating to random following, and will prevent issues like this from popping up again.

So, it’s a good idea to implement each of them now!

1. Change Your Password

The first thing that you should do straight away is change your account password.

Most commonly, seeing your following count go up when you know you didn’t follow anyone is a sign that your account has been compromised. This means somebody likely already has your current password, and is using it to login and control your account.

Additionally, if you reuse the same password on other services, you should also change your password on them as well. In fact, you should never reuse the same password across multiple websites – if a single one of them is compromised, it jeopardizes all of your other accounts as well.

Using a password manager like LastPass makes it easy to keep unique passwords for each website and app that you use, without having to remember them all.

To change your password on Instagram, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Instagram app and visit your profile.
  2. Tap on the icon with 3 horizontal lines in the top-right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap on Settings.
  4. Tap on Security.
  5. Tap on Password.
  6. Enter both your current password and your new password.
  7. Click on Save in the top-right corner of your screen.

After completing these steps, your password will be changed.

2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Often times, changing your Instagram password will be enough to stop your account from following others randomly. However, you can prevent this problem from happening again in the future by enabling two-factor authentication for your account.

Two-factor authentication (often abbreviated to 2FA) requires a code every time you sign in to your account. This makes it impossible to login without a code, even if someone were able to find out your password.

Because you only need to provide the code when you actually login, it really isn’t that bothersome to use – yet it can save your account in the event of a security breach. Personally, I’ve been logged into my Instagram account on some devices for over a year, so the 2FA hasn’t bothered me at all!

To set up two-factor authentication for your account, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Instagram app and visit your profile.
  2. Tap on the icon with 3 horizontal lines in the top-right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap on Settings.
  4. Tap on Security.
  5. Tap on Two-Factor Authentication.
  6. Tap on Get Started.
  7. Select the method you want to use for 2FA. Typically, using an authenticator app is most secure.

As you can see, the entire process can be done in under two minutes! Therefore, it really is a good idea to just get it done now.

If you don’t already have an authenticator app on your phone, we recommend Google Authenticator.

3. Revoke Access To Any Instagram Tools That You No Longer Use

It’s a good idea to periodically check what tools have access to your Instagram account, and revoke access to those you no longer use.

Although apps rarely perform any actions without your approval, it’s possible for people to take over your account via these tools, even if they never find out the password to your Instagram account. Additionally, tools may change ownership or decide to take advantage of their access to a large number accounts, even years after you’ve stopped using them. This is rare, but we’ve heard of it happening.

Thankfully, Instagram makes it easy to revoke access to your account, even if you no longer have access to the tool / software you used previously.

To manage and revoke access to tools and software with access to your Instagram account, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Instagram app and visit your profile.
  2. Tap on the icon with 3 horizontal lines in the top-right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap on Settings.
  4. Tap on Security.
  5. Under the ‘Data and History’ section, tap on ‘Apps and Websites.’
  6. Click ‘Remove’ next to any of the software you want to remove.

Note that tools are usually only authorized to perform certain actions – they don’t actually have your account password.

Was My Personal Data Compromised?

If you believe someone else may have gained access to your Instagram account, you may be wondering – is my personal data compromised? Did someone else actually go through and read all of my private messages?

Fortunately, this is unlikely. Although it is possible for someone with access to your account to freely read through all of your DMs and other account-related data, most people don’t bother with this.

This is because when accounts are compromised and designed to start following people, they are usually controlled by software / bots – it’s not something that’s usually done by an actual person.

Again, it is a possibility that your messages were read. However, it’s unlikely as it goes against the person’s best interests to waste time reading random people’s messages.


If you notice your Instagram accounts starts following new people on its own, you should immediately change your password and enable two-factor authentication.

Additionally, you should revoke access to tools you no longer use.

Typically, this issue is caused by your account being compromised – so its crucial that you take action quickly.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about Instagram, please ask them using the comment form below.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of JamesMcAllisterOnline.com. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on JamesMcAllisterOnline.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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