Is using Grum a breach of Instagram's terms of service?
Will my account get shut down if I use an auto-posting app like Grum?
Valid fear, my friends.
Instagram has been cracking down on apps that use their platform in any way other than how it was meant to be used. Recently, an app called Instagress which is a bot software that comments on posts using your Instagram account was literally shut down. Instagress's official announcement said they were asked by Instagram but we have a feeling they were told by Instagram, through lawyers. Yikes! So it's natural to feel a bit weary when using an app in your Instagram strategy that might give you an edge on other users.
Grum is a popular auto-posting app for Instagram. I first found out about Grum on a Facebook group hosted by Rosemary Watson called The IG Collective (formally The Instagram Collective - name was changed recently because of Instagram's recent raiding of all things IG.) When I had asked another online group about using Grum (or if there were suggestions for other auto-posting apps) I was quickly told my MANY people that auto-posting is against Instagram's terms of service. Yikes! Well, who wants to use an app that will get their account, or worse - their client's accounts, shut down!? Not me! But, I really needed to find a solution that didn't involve a prompt and post feature. I miss prompts ALL the time and I open them in the wrong account and I mess it up all the time. Who is with me? A really important aspect to a successful Instagram strategy is consistency and posting during peak times. Grim does all that and you can post directly from your desktop and schedule ahead of time. I was determined to get to the bottom of this because 1 or 2 people said that Grum's technology does not breech the IG ToS.
A quick google pulled up a response from the same question I had in a tech forum from 9 months ago. The founder of Grum, Ivan, personally responded to a user who asked this question.
Q: "Is Grum, the auto Instagram poster, safe to use?"
A: Hey guys,
My name is Ivan, the founder of Grum. First of all, I want to thank you for trying Grum.
It’s very important for us to be clear to our users — Grum is not a service provided or endorsed by Instagram or Facebook. We are a separate company who have provided a method to post images to Instagram in a way similar to having a friend who sits on their phone 24/7 uploading images.
Grum doesn't implement the Instagram API (official or unofficial) at all while posting your image(s) or videos - we use the same process all Instagram users do when uploading images instead. Grum works on its own as the native Instagram app, so there is nothing connected with the prohibited auto posting.
That’s why we are able to offer our service without risking illegal activities to lots of celebrities, worldwide brands, media or even politicians. None of the Grum users have ever been banned and we are proud of it.
SWEET! I think. I still wasn't 100% clear, though and since all this hoopla about Instagram's crack down, I wanted a more current response. So, I emailed Grum directly to confirm the above comments.
"None of the Grum users have ever been banned and we are proud of it."
- Ivan, Grum Founder
I referred to the post above from 9 months ago (approx. August 2016) and asked my question.
Q: Does this still apply today? It seems Instagram has been on a mission lately taking down apps like Instagress. Do you feel Grum users are at risk in the near future? A response is greatly appreciated since Social Media managers, like myself, do not want to risk the accounts of our clients.
A: Hello Lindsay,
My sincerest apologies for the delayed response. We're rolling out a big update for Grum.
There are no reasons to worry as Grum doesn't violate any of Instagram TOS.
We have no connections with Instagram's API and posting is initiated by the user. The algorithm of posting is like if someone posts instead of you from a different phone with Instagram. That's why you won't be banned.
We use virtual android emulators for posting.
Instagram sees that you post through the third party application, but posts don't go on the automated way. You create them and choose the date or click "post now" by your own initiative.
We have a huge number of IPs and when you create an account, Grum chooses the IP which is the closest to your location. It prevents banning because of IPs and doesn't violate the Terms.
If something isn't clear, I'm here!
Ivan from Grum Team
So there you have it, folks! It appears that Grum has thoughtfully developed a product that doesn't try to get around the Term of Service or algorithms but instead aims to help Instagram users get the best out of the app! And - NO, I am not affiliated with Grum in any way, I just wanted to find the truth and share it with anyone who wants to know since it appears there is lots of misinformation out there. That isn't to say IG can change its ToS at anytime but Grum has said they will do their best to keep their users updated.
Now... I wonder what this new update is?!