Well, Instagram said they would do it, and the company made good on that promise. The uproar you see in the comment section is due to a massive cleanup operation at the social network.

Call it the Instagram purge – a period where all accounts are fair game to remove fake followers. It’s big business too. You can buy your way to Instagram fame. Sort of. It’s a fake it till you make it scenario. You google whatever amount of followers you want and pay a nominal fee. The bots out there churn the accounts to increase your follower count.

So why the big losses on official Instagram and your favorite celebrities? Well, to make the fake accounts seem real, companies build the bots to follow popular accounts. Accounts from Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez all lost a million plus followers.

Some Insta-Celebrities even took to the hills. If you’re familiar with Jet Set Life, his follower count cratered to 172k from 890k followers. Ben Baller, a jeweler to celebrities, is loving the #InstagramRapture.

Other major accounts held up rather well. Take 9gag for example. With over 8.5 million followers prior to the mass deletion, the account only lost 119k followers. That’s less than 1.5% of its total follower count.

Cronut Makes Way for the Sushi Donut

Instagram Spam

So, the purge of accounts is over. What does this mean for fake followers? Not a thing. Companies that offer this service will just learn from what happened and shift gears. Also, this is a massive case of you get what you pay for.

If you pay $5 for 10,000 followers, exactly how do you think that’s going to end? Instagram is pushing to make the site authentic as possible. CEO Kevin Systrom said the deletion would impact follower counts. “As more people join, keeping Instagram authentic is critical—it’s a place where real people share real moments.”

Yeah, fake followers aren’t going away. This just weeds out the lower tier. Spam is big business on social networks, so expect the Instagram purge to become an annual battle.

Jump over to Zach Allia’s site on the top 100 Instagram accounts. The web developer created a table so you can see the carnage yourself. If you are looking for complaining users, those can be found on Instagram’s official account.

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