Did you lose a couple of followers today on Instagram? If you're Rihanna, you lost 1.2 million on Thursday. Kim Kardashian lost 1.3 million. Even beloved talk show host grand diva Oprah saw her Instagram follower count drop.
The sudden drop people saw is because the social media giant is making an effort to scrub the service of spammers and other accounts that don't meet their standards. It's no secret that social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are overrun by annoying spambots. (Just a few hours ago I got one on Twitter urging my "great important attention at this most important value savings deal.") But it's one thing to be besieged by the occassional shitty spambot blabbering about porn or some app you should download.
The issue now is far too many social media managers and online "entrepreneurs" have figured out how to game the system, buying up fake followers in the millions to bolster up the image of their product or client. (It's super easy to do, too.) If you've ever wondered why cheesy reality show stars seem to amass millions of followers overnight, it's likely because some PR agency is doling out hard cash to make it look like millions of people can't get enough of said celeb's Twitter or Instagram feed.
"It's very inexpensive, so that's why many social media teams [buy followers]," Michael Heller, CEO of Talent Resources told the New York Post.
This week, Instagram said it's finally cracking down on this bullshit:
We're in the process of fixing an issue that incorrectly includes inactive or fake accounts in follower/following lists. We want to maintain the best possible experience on Instagram, so we do our best to remove spam, fake accounts and other people and posts that don't follow our Community Guidelines. As we remove these accounts, some people may notice a decrease in their follower/following counts.
When we remove accounts from Instagram that don't follow our Community Guidelines, you may see a decrease in your follower count. This shouldn't affect engagement from authentic accounts that like and comment on your posts.
Of course, people are losing their goddamn minds about this. Via Business Insider:
The crackdown kicked off this week, and people are freaking out. As Instagram removes accounts that aren't up to snuff with the company's community guidelines, users have watched their follower numbers plummet.
One account by the name of miyoungnews reported losing over 100,000 followers in a matter of days. Thousands of users have been flooding the official Instagram account's comments section to voice their fear and anger.
"I LOST 50+ FOLLOWERS F*** YOU INSTAGRAM," one user wrote. "Please stop deleting accounts!" begged another.
But perhaps most devastating of all, our nation's poor, helpless celebrities saw their favorite way of valuating their own fame and measuring love of total strangers begin to dwindle. The Post tallied up the lost follower count of celebs with some of the biggest social media presence:
1.3 million of Kim Kardashian's vanished. Rihanna's decreased by about 1.2 million. Katy Perry's went down 300,000. Even Oprah lost 100,000. "It's bad for a celeb for many reasons," Heller said. "It's embarrassing," plus, "they also could lose lots of money."
Some celebs wondered if this was the beginning of the end:
Images via Getty.