It’s a tough lesson that every Instagram-loving celeb and teen will have to learn: The bots are not your friends.
Since Instagram announced last week that it would start permanently deleting, en masse, millions of spam accounts, many users have as a result seen their follower counts drop dramatically, and they are not happy. Some, like ’90s rapper Mase, who apparently lost 1.5 million followers in the wake of the purge, reportedly deleted their accounts rather than suffer the embarrassment of a puny audience.
Comments like “GIMME MY FLIPPING FOLLOWERS BACK” and “Thanks for my Christmas present of -1.8k” have been popping up alongside official Instagram posts, as users log their frustration. Meanwhile, Instagram’s message regarding “Changes to Followers” continues to appear on users’ Activity page.
Instagram revealed the spam account crackdown in conjunction with the announcement that it had passed 300 million users and would be launching verified accounts for brands and public figures. “As more people join, keeping Instagram authentic is critical,” cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom wrote in a blog post. “We’re committed to doing everything possible to keep Instagram free from the fake and spammy accounts that plague much of the web.”
Over email, Instagram declined to comment on why it had previously deactivated, but not fully deleted, accounts marked as spam. The company also declined to comment on whether it had run scenarios predicting that some users would see a precipitous falloff in followers.
[h/t: Business Insider]