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Instagram gets hit by spam, and it's fruity, too

A photo illustration shows the applications Facebook and Instagram on the screen of an iPhone in Zagreb April 9, 2012. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic
Instagram icon on iPhone.Reuters file

If you noticed photos of fruit showing up in your Instagram feed Saturday, you might think it was to help you feel cooler, especially if you're in one of the Western states suffering from the heat wave. But it's not. In fact, it may be one of the first major spam attacks to hit the popular photo-sharing service.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, told NBC News that "earlier today, a small portion of our users experienced a spam incident where unwanted photos were posted from their accounts."

The fruit spam is a ploy to get you to click on the photo, and then a link for some kind of "miracle" fruit diet. The concern is how the spammers got into Instagram user accounts to do so.

Om Malik, of GigaOm, wrote that "Spammers are posting the photos to a user’s profile, as well as changing the URL in that person’s bio."

Facebook said that its security and spam team "quickly took actions to secure the accounts involved and the posted photos are being deleted."

Those users whose accounts were spammed have had their passwords re-set by Facebook, which is notifying them about the re-set. Users should take precautions, though, and check their Instagram profiles and security settings.

"General best practices are to use unique password for all of your online accounts, and if you've used the same password in the past, to go ahead and proactively change it to something unique," a Facebook spokeswoman said.

Since Instagram launched in 2010, approximately 16 billion photos have been shared on it. Facebook, which bought Instagram last year, recently added the capability to add video to Instagram.

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