Do not be alarmed. Your follower count on Instagram is probably about to take a dip, but it’s not because your #selfies aren’t #cute anymore, or because your latest #fashion finds are no bueno. Instagram is just getting a head start on some spring cleaning.
Today, the social photo-sharing giant announced that it now has 300 million users. They then added a somewhat unusual (albeit honest) corollary to this news: That many of those users are bullshit. Like any popular service, Instagram has a ton of fake and spammy accounts cluttering up its databases. And now, the company says, they’re going to get more aggressive about zapping them.
We’ve been deactivating spammy accounts from Instagram on an ongoing basis to improve your experience. As part of this effort, we will be deleting these accounts forever, so they will no longer be included in follower counts. This means that some of you will see a change in your follower count.
Most of you won’t see any impact. If you’re one of those who will see a correction, you will receive a notification in the app directing you to additional information.
It’s not the first time Instagram has taken a shot at spam accounts, which seem to surge periodically. In April, the company made a similar declaration of war against these miscreants. And as they made clear with today’s news, Instagram expects to be playing this game of whack-a-mole literally “forever.”
These efforts, combined with Instagram’s newly announced user verification badges, are intended to help users machete their way through the jungle of garbage accounts and find the best people to follow. Or at the very least–if you’re anything like me–you want to ensure what you’ve stumbled across is the real Mariah Carey and not some impostor.
The company doesn’t mention just how widespread the spam problem is, but if you actively use Instagram, you know what’s up.
Out of my approximately 1,000 Instagram followers, a solid majority is made up of friends, fellow journalists, coworkers, tech people, and folks who know an adorable cat pic when they see one. But like everyone else, when I scroll through my follower list, I see some curious characters.
Take 2gsverterqwrfwfa, for example. This person, whose username was definitely not generated by a computer, is a very sexy lady. In photo after photo, she is on the beach in her bikini, bent over ever so slightly in some lingerie or just generally being as sultry as can be. Not only that, but she wants to chat. With you. On her web cam. All you have to do is click the link in her profile.
Pretty soon, 2gsverterqwrfwfa is probably going to disappear, along with scarlettpowell3slk2 and shakakinos19surefuny. All they wanted to do was chat.