In November 2018, Instagram announced the great crackdown on fake followers and took the users of popular social media tool by storm. An official statement from Instagram read, “We’re taking a number of steps to limit this kind of unwelcome behavior. Accounts we identify will receive an in-app message alerting them that we’ve removed the inauthentic activity given to their account from others. We will also ask them to secure their account by changing their password. Accounts that use these types of apps share their username and password, which is sometimes used to give inauthentic likes, follows and comments to others.”
Today, the stories and tweets were abuzz with updates on influencers and celebrities losing millions of followers due to this move by the Facebook-owned company. While the users have been confused about what exactly happened and how many more users will have to face the wrath of this, we take stock of the good and bad of this initiative.
What led to Instagram purge?
Ever since the photo-sharing app was launched on 6th October 2010, it became an instant hit with the social media users attracting millions of users in just a couple of years. The social status of people was measured by the number of followers they had on Instagram which led to the birth of multiple platforms providing Instagram followers, likes and comments at a certain cost. Even after stringent guidelines and algorithms to prevent this, many individuals saw this as an opportunity to make a buck the easy way. While there was a huge debate among upcoming influencers on who is followed by just bots and who are really loved by real audiences, Instagram decided to curb the accounts with fake followers and users with an unusual activity of following and unfollowing profiles to gain more followers. The doomsday for accounts with fake followers arrived today and reports poured in with users losing hundreds and thousands of followers overnight. Not only the average users experienced this but even celebrities with millions of followers did as well. Instagram used artificial intelligence to detect boosted engagements and followers and eventually removed auto likes, comments, and followers from Instagram.
Which accounts lost the most followers?
Nike (@nike)-The footwear and apparel giant saw a reduction of 1.1 million followers dropping their current number of followers to 83,00,000
Katy Perry (@katyperry)-The popular American singer and songwriter 9,00,000 followers but soon gained another 1,00,000 new followers to take the tally to 74.1 million followers
Ellen Degeneres (@theellenshow)-One of the most loved comedians and the host of the long-running The Ellen DeGeneres Show also lost 1 million followers from the official Instagram account
Selena Gomez (@selenagomez)-The third-most-followed user on Instagram Selena Gomez lost 2.3 million followers and stands at 143.2 million followers now.
How social media reacted to this?
Kavita (the_green_bonneville), another female rider from Pune loved by many across the country for her frequent travel stories reverberates this thought. “Influencers can influence only real and genuine Instagram users who look upto them. On an individual level, this will not just help brands to make informed decisions but also keep public figures motivated with a surety of real audiences”.
A lot of users around the world are unhappy with this activity and suspect it is just a temporary technical glitch and the lost followers will be restored if found to be genuine.“The so-called Purge is good, as long its not one of instagram’s all-time failing algorithm (Every algorithm they have introduced has some or the other bug). If it actually removes Bots and inactive accounts from the system… then good! We will have authenticity all the way, and influencers who are actually true will benefit. All this is possible IF and ONLY IF the algorithm that Insta claims is Fool Proof!!” says Robin (Beardorob) from Mumbai. Nikhil Joshi, known as Doomzday_Official also feels the same. “It is true that there are a lot of Instagram handles which use paid services to gain more followers. But in the real sense, the bot followers have little to no value at all. This will give a huge boost to the spirits of the people who really work hard day and night to make quality content for their fans”, says Joshi.
At the time of the filing of this story, there was no official announcement from Instagram regarding this and an official statement is expected soon.