If you have woken up today and noticed that your Instagram followers have dropped, you're not the only one
In a move to truly reflect the real number of followers, Instagram has taken steps to remove millions of fake accounts and many have been calling it the "Instagram Rapture"
The event, which began today after the photo-sharing service made good on its promise to start deleting millions of fake accounts, has been dubbed the "Instagram Rapture" after the follower counts of apparently popular Instagrammers were savaged.theverge.com
"We're in the process of fixing an issue that incorrectly includes inactive or fake accounts in follower/following lists. We want to maintain the best possible experience on Instagram, so we do our best to remove spam, fake accounts and other people and posts that don't follow our Community Guidelines. As we remove these accounts, some people may notice a decrease in their follower/following counts.
Note: This issue was fixed for the majority of Instagrammers in April 2014. By the end of December 2014, it should be fixed for the remaining members of the Instagram community."
Many were slain in the Great Instagram Purge of 2014. The photo-sharing app went on a cleaning spree Thursday, deleting inactive and spam accounts and causing people's follower stats to drop left and right.huffingtonpost.com
The hardest hit in this massive "culling" has been celebrities, who have lost millions of followers. Kim Kardashian lost around 800,000 while teen heart throb Justin Bieber lost over 3 million followers overnight.
Even Instagram's own account was not spared. It lost close to 19 million followers in the major cleanup.
For these celebrities, their accounts are managed by PR agencies and they buy followers to boost up the images of brands and celebrities
The issue now is far too many social media managers and online "entrepreneurs" have figured out how to game the system, buying up fake followers in the millions to bolster up the image of their product or client. (It's super easy to do, too.) If you've ever wondered why cheesy reality show stars seem to amass millions of followers overnight, it's likely because some PR agency is doling out hard cash to make it look like millions of people can't get enough of said celeb's Twitter or Instagram feed. "It's very inexpensive, so that's why many social media teams [buy followers]," Michael Heller, CEO of Talent Resources told the New York Post.jezebel.com
But the biggest loser wasn't Instagram or Justin Bieber. Instagram user chiragchirag78 who had over 3 million followers was reduced to just 8 real followers. The account no longer exists.
"Smack That" singer Akon shed some 56 percent of his followers in the space of a few hours, while Allia's figures show a user named chiragchirag78 who plummeted from more than 3 million followers to exactly eight. Chiragchirag78's Instagram account no longer exists.theverge.com
Social media reaction has been mixed, with a lot of the younger users demanding for their follower count to be reinstated
Both of my Instagram posts today have me giving the finger because I'm angry that I went from 12.2 to 11.7 followers. IM MAD AS HELL— Nick Ghanbarian (@nickbayside) December 19, 2014
However, there are some who applaud the move as they can now see celebrities who bought followers and can tell who the real fans are
Instagram got rid of spam followers/non active accounts today. I lost 15K. #RIP— Joe Santagato (@JoeSantagato) December 18, 2014