Instagram Screengrab
If you paid for followers, you likely lost them.

Instagram purged a large number of spam accounts from the app this week, and people are seriously unhappy about it. Most people only lost a handful of followers, but some accounts’ spam followers—and thus, lost followers—numbered in the millions.

Developer Zach Allia crunched the numbers of the 100 most-followed Instagram accounts and discovered that the official Instagram profile lost the most followers—18,880,211, or almost 30% of their following. It’s not clear whether those accounts were all spam, or if some people stopped following Instagram out of spite for the company’s spam-account purge. No other account's follower loss comes near Instagram's number.

By looking at Allia’s data, we can see who had the most spam accounts, as well as whose accounts are the most authentic. Users can buy Instagram followers as easily as Twitter followers from sites like Buzzoid. Often, these paid followers become an army of spam accounts.

It’s impossible to know who purchased followers, but massive follower drop-offs on relatively no-name accounts suggest that the phenomenon is pervasive. A user named chiragchirag78, whose account has since been deleted, went from almost four million followers to just eight.

Rapper Akon was apparently inundated with spam, too. He went from 4,375,631 to 1,916,385 followers, a loss of 56 percent of his following. Sean Diddy Combs lost over a million followers, or 22 percent, and Justin Bieber lost almost 15 percent of his following, after Instagram purged 3,538,228 accounts that followed the singer.

So which celebrities’ Instagram followers are actually fans? Almost everyone who follows Jennifer Lopez is an authentic account—the recording artist lost just 133,158 accounts, less than two percent of her followers. Shakira is only slightly less authentic, losing 141,239 followers, or 2.6 percent.

The spam account crackdown has understandably upset users.

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

But no one said it better than Refinery29.

Goodbye, sweet followers. You were great while you lasted.

Screengrab via Instagram

Promoted Stories Powered by Sharethrough
instagram
Instagram introduces 5 new filters and a Manage tab
Instagram on Tuesday announced its largest upgrade since treating everyone to the long-overdue joy of caption editing. The latest version of everyone’s favorite photo-sharing app bring us five new filters, quirkily named Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden, and Perpetua.
instagram
5-year-old Disney star gets death threats when her show introduces same-sex couple
Proving once again that they have sensible priorities in addition to the moral high ground, conservatives against same-sex marriage are using social media to threaten Mia Talerico, a 5-year-old Disney star—in some cases with gruesome death. Violent Instagram messages from one particularly deranged individual have prompted an official police investigation.
Group

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!