Instagram has banned hundreds of accounts tied to the notorious “OGUsers” forum, where members buy and sell stolen social media accounts. The company is also going after some of the forum’s highest-profile members, threatening legal action if they continue to use Instagram and break its rules, Motherboard reported.
Instagram says it disabled about 400 accounts, which were behind a number of handles that are considered valuable by people who trade in social media accounts. These “OG” usernames, often short, unique words, are thought of as status symbols and are often bought and sold for thousands of dollars via forums like OGUsers. One such account disabled in Thursday’s takedown was @trusted, which was used by an OGUsers member who acted as middleman, according to Motherboard.
Because of the value associated with these handles, these accounts also become frequent targets for hackers who often use SIM-swapping attacks to take over the accounts. According to Instagram, OGUser members also resort to other tactics, like harassment and extortion. “Today, we’re removing hundreds of accounts connected to members of the OGUsers forum,” an Instagram spokesperson said in a statement. “They harass, extort and cause harm to the Instagram community, and we will continue to do all we can to make it difficult for them to profit from Instagram usernames.”
While not the first time Instagram has gone after people associated with OGUsers, it’s the first time the company has publicly named it as part of a mass-takedown. The forum was also linked to the massive Twitter hack last summer, when Bitcoin scammers were able to access the accounts of Barack Obama, Elon Musk and other high-profile Twitter users. According to security journalist Brian Krebs, TikTok and Twitter also took action against accounts associated with OGUsers.