Are the Cambridges still buying bot-followers on Instagram? An investigation.

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In February 2020, Caity Weaver wrote a brilliant analysis piece for the New York Times. What was she analyzing? The numbers behind the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Instagram-follower growth. When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched their SussexRoyal Instagram in 2019, they immediately got millions of followers. Their posts out-performed every other royal account in likes and engagement. As soon as the SussexRoyal IG grew by leaps and bounds, speculation arose that it would soon eclipse @KensingtonRoyal with follower numbers. SussexRoyal never did, because suddenly, KensingtonRoyal’s follower numbers increased by tens of thousands every day for no real reason (as in, KP wasn’t even putting out exclusive content). Which led to speculation that Will and Kate were buying bot-followers to compete with the Sussexes. Which is petty and a waste of money.

I will always, always believe that William demanded that Harry and Meghan shut down their Instagram in the Sussexit. In any case, Meghan and Harry stopped using SussexRoyal as of the end of March last year. So why are the Cambridges still buying bot-followers?

Earlier this week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge reached 13 million followers on Instagram, making their account the most popular among other members of the Royal Family. The Royal Family’s official Instagram account has 10.3 million followers, while Prince Charles and Camila Parker-Bowles’ Clarence House page consists of 1.5 million followers.

Additionally, Princess Eugenie’s personal account has 1.5 million unique followers.

Back in May 2021, William and Kate changed their Instagram account name from @KensingtonRoyal to the more personal @dukeandduchessofmcambridge handle. This major change came shortly after the royal couple launched their official YouTube channel.

[From ET Canada]

Just so we’re clear, KensingtonRoyal had 2.7 million followers in the fall of 2017. In April/May 2019, SussexRoyal launched and suddenly there was a HUGE spike in followers to… KensingtonRoyal. By February 2020, Will and Kate had 11.3 million IG followers, just barely ahead of SussexRoyal. Many of those KensingtonRoyal followers were bots, even though they were demanding (at the time) that Harry and Meghan shut down their IG. I guess my point is this: why are Will and Kate still buying bot-followers if they’re not “competing” with the Sussexes anymore? There’s no way they got 1.7 million new, unique and real followers in the past 15 months of terrible headlines. Where is the accounting on this? Is this where their foundation donations go?

PS… I still find it so fishy that they changed the “name” of their social media accounts. On Twitter, they still use @KensingtonRoyal, but their account is “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.” They actually changed their Instagram handle away from @KensingtonRoyal and somehow retained (and grew) their followers even with the bulky new IG handle?

PPS… And another thing! The KensingtonRoyal Twitter only has 2.2 million followers! Such a wide discrepancy in follower numbers between the two platforms says, to me, that they’re finding it harder to buy bot followers on Twitter, and/or they’re not worried about competing with the Sussexes on Twitter, given that Harry & Meghan have never had any presence on Twitter.

Giuliani Press Conference at RNC Headquarters

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Photos courtesy of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Instagram.

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71 Responses to “Are the Cambridges still buying bot-followers on Instagram? An investigation.”

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  1. Merricat says:

    There isn’t an authentic bone in the body of either of them. It must be so surreal inside the Cambridge heads.

  2. SarahLee says:

    I can’t wait for the Archewell Instagram to launch. It will be epic.

    • PrincessK says:

      Will it happen? The Sussexes said that they intend to stay off social media

      • Sid says:

        As I recall the message when the IG was shut down was that they would return when the time was right.

  3. Lori says:

    They might want to clear out all the bots before throwing shade at social media platforms for trolling and racism and demanding verified accounts. That football mess will haunt them.

  4. Chica says:

    What about their YouTube numbers? What about Archewell although nothing personal is posted; there is more interest. The wide discrepancy in number is weird. I

    • equality says:

      606K followers on YouTube. So the numbers don’t support having millions of faithful fans.

      • Ginger says:

        That’s it?! They haven’t even reached a million on their YouTube channel? Wow…

        If you look at their engagement numbers on their posts it’s pretty obvious they have bot followers.

        Also, no doubt Will told Harry to leave their Instagram. He is so jealous.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        Bot-Buying does not bother me. It is the paid posters that really get on my nerves. I have no doubt there are hundreds of paid posters with multiple screen names populating the Daily Fail commentariat.

      • SenseOfTheAbsurd says:

        Wow, that’s about what the followers total was a couple of days after the Youtube launched, when I last checked or even thought about it. At least a couple of months ago.

      • Christine says:

        SenseOfTheAbsurd, same. I forgot about their youtube channel, until this article.

    • Eurydice says:

      They only post a couple of times a month – 12 vids so far, and a bunch of older, random stuff. Still, they have about 600,000 subscribers.

      And with 13 million followers on IG, they only have a few thousand comments.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        There is your evidence right there. You could not possibly have 13 million followers and only have a few thousand comments. Also, in regards to Twitter and YouTube, it’s the same scenario. They aren’t able to “buy” a following of fans. They are the epitome of desperate, needy and pathetic. TOB and Keen Guevara will never be held in the same favor as Harry and Meghan.

  5. Lauren says:

    It’s them or the rota buying them and following the Keenbridges because there are a lot of new bot accounts, especially on the bird app.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    The bot buying is proven by the huge discrepancy between the number of Twitter followers and Instagram followers. I agree William demanded that that Harry and Meghan shutdown their account.

    • taris says:

      the sussex royal IG is still up (but inactive) with 10.2M followers. last i checked most in the top 10 all-time most-liked royal posts belong to @sussexroyal. and even with the sussexes off social media they have fan pages with hundreds of thousands of followers each, so there’s a real appetite for them. when they finally do get back on social media (they told oprah they were waiting for “the right time”) it’ll be HUGE.

      the cambridges online fan base is clearly lacking in enthusiasm, and w+k themselves are not particularly social media savvy. yep, they’re definitely still buying bots, you can tell because engagement on their pages is not at all proportional to the number of followers they supposedly have, not to mention the discrepancy between their twitter and insta follower count, it’s bizarre.

      i remember when the youtube channel dropped, the amount of ‘excitement’ from the british media larkies was hilarious. they were banging on and on about how this would help w+k appeal to h+m’s supporters. lol. like, seriously, i don’t even know a single person under the age of 40 who actually thinks starting a youtube channel in the year of our lord 2021 is innovative.

      • ennie says:

        HAHAHAI have a youtube account, actually, two, with some vids I made, one of the acts is way more than 10 years old, and I am a Gen Xer. Innovative the Cambridges?, LOL.

  7. Snuffles says:

    I know a lot of people are waiting and hoping that Meghan and Harry get back on social media in some capacity. Even if it’s just for Archewell.

    Now that Archewell is up and running, they still don’t have any social media for it. Which makes me wonder if part of the Sussexit deal was to stay off of social media for a certain period of time. I could see Kensington Palace maki g that demand thinking it would dwindle the Sussex’s popularity if they were absent.

    But they didn’t count on Sussex Squad and Meghan and Harry being clever y putting out messages and photos via the social media accounts of the charities they support.

    • Sunday says:

      The Sussexes are not on social media because they fundamentally disagree with the ethics behind most, if not all, of the social media platforms. Their Time 100 talk was as informative as it was indicative of their overall attitudes on social media, and Harry’s work with the Aspen Institute combating mis- and disinformation online further reinforces that. IMO, they won’t join social media unless or until these platforms are something they feel they can stand behind. Plus, if they had any sort of social account, Every Single Post would be picked apart, twisted, and ridiculed by the RRs. Any Sussex social account would generate enough vitriol to feed the royal rota industrial complex for decades.

      We’ve seen that they can be just as impactful through their Archewell site and spokesperson, and as you’ve noted the tactic of allowing their charitable partners to break the news gives those profiles a much-needed boost. And, though it’s awful that any charity should get trolled online by idiotic royalists, if those charities *are* targeted it only makes their detractors look even more petty and deranged.

    • Amy Bee says:

      @Snuffles: I definitely think they were told they couldn’t establish a new Instagram account during the one year review. Harry said that would take their time decide whether to return to social media. I guess we will have to wait and see. It’s quite possible that they just haven’t gotten around to hiring social media staff yet or they’ve decided not to return. They may even want to build up a following for their website first before starting a new account.

      • Snuffles says:


        I hope the do once their parental leave is over. I’m all for them handling it on their own terms but they need to get back on there in some capacity in my opinion.

    • PrincessK says:


    • Vavavoom says:

      I think this may be the case, I also think they may have been holding out (and may still be) for a behind the scenes deal where they can retain their sussexroyal social media account. Or maybe they are working out being able to transfer the posts and comments to their new account. This stuff takes time, especially when you’re dealing with the FIRM I’d imagine.

      I would love to see them open a new account as well, I miss seeing them being working royals.

  8. S808 says:

    It’s really obvious that most of the followers on IG are bots. the likes vs the followers never added up to me. SussexRoyal was pulling in 1M+ like a post or very close to it. KP was pulling around few hundred thousand per post. I’m pretty most their most liked posts are ones about or that feature H&M.

    • Bethy says:

      This is not true. You can still see their Instagram account and they weren’t pulling in 1m likes per post. Most were 200-300k I’m a fan but we need to be honest when making claims.

      • S808 says:

        I just scrolled back through their IG and you’re right! It’s their videos that pull 1M+ and those are views.

      • Fawsia says:

        @Bethy Go back and check instead of arguing with people. The Sussex Royal IG was very active with likes and views way more than the KP IG.

  9. Sunday says:

    They’re buying bots on Twitter too, but on Twitter they’re focused on buying responses like “What about Harry in a n*zi costume?” and “Kate is so beautiful and young!” That sort of thing is more expensive than just a general boost of follower count.

    On YouTube it’s more difficult to fudge your numbers (difficult, not impossible), so those figures are much closer to reality.

    • Becks1 says:

      Oh yeah they definitely have bots on twitter, but not as many. The twitter bots are more sinister IMO bc their purpose seems to be anti-Sussex.

      • Sunday says:

        Exactly. I think they decided it was more beneficial to have throwaway bot accounts to troll and harass every single post that mentions Harry and/or Meghan before they’re inevitably reported and the accounts are disabled, rather than having empty follower counts. Definitely more sinister, it just shows that their entire media strategy is based on smearing the Sussexes.

  10. Becks1 says:

    they are definitely still buying bots – first, you can tell the bots bc they often all use the same canned responses. Second, the jumps in number of followers does not correspond to any big event – its not like their numbers jump after a birthday pic or a big announcement, its just random, which it would be if they were buying bots. And finally, the discrepancy between IG and Twitter – that’s a HUGE gap and while I can believe that some people are on IG and not twitter (like my mother, for example), i don’t think that accounts for the 10 million difference in followers.

    • Nic919 says:

      You can see they are bots but the major deranger accounts are likely staffers because you see a few talking points come from them and then the more anonymous firstname bunch of numbers account repeat the same talking points within a few hours of the first comment.

  11. Digital Unicorn says:

    Of course they are and the UK taxpayer will be paying for it as well.

  12. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    Ok help me out here
    How does one buy a follower?

    • pearlime says:

      Its dead easy – there are click farms, a lot of them in Bangladesh, where all people do each day is log in and out of fake accounts to follow, like or engage with a buyer’s account.
      Google it. You can buy a few thousand from your couch in 2 minutes. They even let you chose whether you want American, European, UK, German followers and they will offer you packages that gradually grow your numbers so its not too obvious. If you really want to buy followers in bulk or stuff like likes for a particular post, there are brokers that deal directly with the click farm managers. That also isn’t uncommon.

      Influencers have to be careful though, because marketing platforms actually measure their growth and log anything suspicious. On Insta, what really counts for the algorithm as well as any coorporate partner is the engagement numbers per thousand users and having too many fake followers actually lowers your enagement rate.

      • MerlinsMom1018 says:

        Thanks for the explanation pearlime!!!!
        Sounds like way too much effort. For me anyway. I have EXACTLY 132 followers on my Insta. That’s more than enough

  13. Irish bot farm says:

    Arent you buying them out of Ireland?

  14. Christine says:

    I think twitter is just better about removing bot accounts. There are some suspicious supporters on there though. Some of the accounts that stan them are reminiscent of the Russian bot accounts for Trump.

  15. Silver says:

    They all buy bots lol
    … Meghan bought bots , when she had her personal account , you could see the fake accounts by scrolling down the follower list, the kardadhians do it, , Jessica Mulroney did it around the wedding, Oprah does it, every celebrity does. This isn’t a revelation …. just got to a celebrity account and scroll deep down into their followers and start clicking random accounts. Of course the Cambridge’s did it too just the timing was stupid and outed them lol

    • Southern Fried says:

      Sorry, I don’t believe that.

    • Nic919 says:

      The big difference is that the Cambridges don’t have their own money so they are using taxpayer funds to buy bots. No one cares what private citizens do with their own money, but these two are supposedly not celebrities so scrutinizing their hypocrisy is the entire point of this.

      • equality says:

        Exactly. You can’t keep saying you are a diplomat for your country and not a celebrity and then conduct yourself like a celebrity.

    • Fawsia says:

      Girl, you did not even know Meghan before she dated Harry! Girl bye.

    • February-Pisces says:

      I agree that most public figures, businesses and instagramers do buy bots, but they already have built a large following on the platforms already. You can fake followers but you can’t fake genuine influence and interest and popularity. The Keens went from like 250k to 11million in like a year. There was little to no interest in their insta until Meghan joined, then all of a sudden the Keens get 10 millions followers? Nah it just isn’t believable, I would say they were 90% bots if not more.

      People like the Kardashian’s do buy a hell of a lot of bots, but they also have a ridiculously large following that is legit. The interest in everything they post is real, and they can sell out products in seconds. Instagram followers can be bought, but real popularity can not. The Keens don’t have that genuine interest, that’s why all their projects flop.

  16. Lizzie says:

    No one even comes to see them in person. They had to drag out those poor little kids in Scotland who had no idea who they were and the little boy asked Keen if she was the prince. Soooo, yes they are buying bots.

  17. Catherine says:

    There were actually previous smaller spikes on Kensington Royal IG. When Meghan was revealed as Harry’s girlfriend; when they got engaged and when they got married. And IMO. They were buying bots before split. Those bots were specifically to engage with the Cambridge’s post because anything related to the Sussexes received more engagement. I also believe that the campaign of abusive trolling that Sussexes (mainly Meghan) received before the split and then after SussexRoyal was launched was coordinated bought bots from KP. They are buying bots again because the stagnation of growth and the lack of overall engagement of the account was making their previous bot buying even more obvious. The Sussexes being gone was supposed to benefit their popularity. It didn’t. This newest round of bot buying was coordinated with all the anniversary PR. I think they dropped KensingtonRoyal because of the Sussexes. They thought that taking SussexRoyal would hurt Harry and Meghan but they still generate more attention with no social media platforms. And they are referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I think they believed that switching to DDOC would make them more seem more personable/relatable the way the Sussexes are perceived to be.

  18. JenJenJen says:

    Sussexroyal still has 10.1M followers (including moi) even though they haven’t posted since March of last year. Guess that still isn’t a big enough gap for the Keens…

  19. Lizzie says:

    I’ve loved Caity Weaver since she wrote about lunch at The American Girl cafe on Gawker.

  20. February-Pisces says:

    It wasn’t just that they were buying bot followers, but they were also purchasing troll bots to leave hateful messages on ‘Sussex royal’. That was the worse thing about their one sided Instagram war.

    Some of those hateful bots even left racist comments about archie. I took screen grabs of those comments. You could tell it was a bot because they showed all the signs, no profile pic, few followers, private account etc. Now I’m not pointing the finger here (lol) but most of the racist troll bots would also praise kate within the same comment, so no guesses as to where they were coming from.

    I remember one Mother’s Day post, the bought and paid for troll bots were ready to trash meghans much anticipated Mother’s Day photo of archie. But instead they just posted a photo of the words “mum, mom, mama” or something like that. One troll bot prematurely wrote, “I can’t believe you hired a professional photographer to take archies picture, when Kate takes long of hers herself”, lol. Yep the trolls are definitely briefed on what to write in advance.

    • Cee says:

      Someone on Twitter was being harrassed by troll bots and she managed to trace them back to KP AND JASON KNAUF. She had done indepth research on him as they shared a mutual person who had gone to school with him and was spilling hot tea.

      Jason was always toxic and the only reason he was able to bring his toxicity to KP is because his employers, William and Kate, sanctioned it.

      And this is why I’ll never believe a single thing they ever say. They’re shit.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        This is absolutely disgusting and disturbing on too many levels! This just cements my hatred for them both! The only joy are the groups and IG accounts that are all pro-Sussex who come down hard on anyone who disparages Harry and Meghan, in all of their glory!!

  21. Cee says:

    I unfollowed them the minute SussexRoyal went live.

  22. Theothermia says:

    You can tell they buy bots on twitter, and that they wanted POC bots specifically. There are loads of accounts with a black person as a profile photo that do nothing but pay paid compliments to KP. So fake.

  23. Elle says:

    Thanks for pointing this out, they made an online hate campaign towards Harry and Meghan
    Most of the hate comments come from bot accounts, they are paid accounts. I got a feeling this whole thing will backfire on them.

  24. Merricat says:

    It makes complete and total sense to me that these two pretenders have pretend followers. Racists and bots following the racist robot-royals.

  25. Theothermia says:

    Lately – they buy bots that are supposed to look like Black people. KP is so gross.

  26. CrystalBall says:

    Imagine if a high-ranking someone had bought followers and paid for bots specifically to fuel and create a toxic media, with the final goal to destroy and drive away Harry and Meghan?
    Imagine finding out that this is what had made your life a living hell and driven you to give up evetything, even your own country?
    Imagine knowing precisely who this someone is and having to live with that kmowledge?
    Nothing is a coincidence here. There is a constant, organized, and relentless effort that works hourly to smear Harry and Meghan. Someone is funding this.

    • MerryGirl says:

      Agreed @CrystalBall and we need an investigative journalist to find out WHO.

    • Nic919 says:

      Only two possibilities: KP or Buckleberry. The other Royal social media accounts aren’t boosting their follower count like KP has done.

      There was a video compilation today of a few guests on a Jeremy Vine and they were all making comments about how Harry and Meghan were not supposed to be more popular than Kate and William and that this was causing issues for them. I don’t know when the comments were made, but for a brief moment some people were being honest as to why so much of the media attacks have targeted Meghan first and then Harry. The other two have been jealous from day one.

    • aftershocks says:

      Thanks for your comments @Crystalball. Your observations echo earlier posts by Cee and by February-Pisces regarding the very sinister nature of these attacks against M&H, sadly and obviously sanctioned by TOB, Keen and the Midds, in addition to palace grey men, and rota rats in cahoots with deranger accounts on SM.

      As well, @Sunday said earlier in this thread:
      “I think [W&K] decided it was more beneficial to have throwaway bot accounts to troll and harass every single post that mentions Harry and/or Meghan before they’re inevitably reported and the accounts are disabled, rather than having empty follower counts. Definitely more sinister, it just shows that their entire media strategy is based on smearing the Sussexes.”

      These explications and revelations about under-handed bot-buying practices and sinister smears designed to try and destroy the Sussexes’ reputation and popularity, eerily remind me of a concerning if wackily apt comment by slick rota royalist, Katie Nicholl, who is known to be a KP cohort and apologist. Nicholl made the below historical analogy in the recent ITV documentary about ‘battling’ Wales brothers. I believe its entitled: “William & Harry: What Went Wrong.” It’s obvious the producers of this tripe documentary are part of the royalist cabal who hate Meghan. They stealthily, yet blatantly are citing her as ‘what went wrong.’ Yet for those who are in-the-know or who have done their homework, we understand that the truth is, William and Harry were never that close, and there was always a sibling rivalry, mostly triggered and perpetuated by Cain aka Willileaks.

      Katie Nicholl said:
      “If this [rift/ battle between William & Harry] had taken place in the 15th-century, one of these brothers, I imagine, would be dead by now.”

      I think we know Nicholl is actually trying to say that it would be a good thing if when William is crowned King that he possessed all the power of past English monarchs to place his brother in the Tower of London on trumped up treason charges. And then proceeded to willingly sign his brother’s death warrant. Somewhat unlike Queen Elizabeth I, who rather unwillingly was manipulated into signing the death warrant of her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots!

  27. EllenOlenska says:

    Maybe buying bots is what the top notch PR team is doing…because god knows they sure aren’t doing any reputation management activities….

  28. yinyang says:

    That picture of William and Kate. They airbrushed her to high heaven couldn’t they spend some time airbrushing williams nose, yeesh??

  29. Penny says:

    I remember feeling sorry for Harry because William was clearly the better looking brother. This was way back when William had hair And they were both teenagers. But that profile picture of William with Kate, YIKES! He looks like a villain in an old movie.
    Harry is by far better looking as an adult!

  30. Heat says:

    Here’s the thing, though: I follow them. And I follow a lot of people I don’t particularly like. Heck, I even followed Donald Trump on Twitter. I follow some people who are known train-wrecks; I follow people are hot-messes; I follow people who I feel judgy about. Followers does not always equal supporters.