Sitting in his small, lofted bedroom in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, Kent Heckel picked up a palm-sized computer off a ledge next to his bed and explained how it’s home to more than 2,900 Instagram bots. The computer, called a Raspberry Pi, is a $35 hobby machine designed for students, teachers, and tinkerers. For Heckel, it’s been something else: a bot farm, delivering a stream of US-based likes to his Instagram account and the accounts of five paying clients.
Heckel’s bot farm is not a complex operation. He uses the Raspberry Pi to run a script that checks his and his clients’ accounts every few seconds. When the script sees a new post, it logs into each of the 2,900 accounts it controls and uses them to like it. The script can automate up to three likes per second. It pulls the bots’ usernames and passwords from a spreadsheet Heckel bought access to on Telegram’s Black Market group for approximately $1,600 last year. For Heckel, the bot and Fuelgram come together masterfully. In April alone, he’s used them to make $12,000.
Postin’ for the Pi part.