It's being called the 'Instagram Purge of 2019' with people from all over the world losing thousands of followers, one example below cost 500,000 to be deleted.
So why are people losing followers on Instagram, why all at once and why now, and will my followers come back?
- Let's start with the official story, and with that we've got to look to Instagram themselves / itself? How do you address Instagram? Anyway Monday 13th Feb 2019 they posted on Twitter (the irony I know) stating:
"We’re aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people right now. We’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible."
Ok, with the social media company's official statement called it an 'issue' that will be 'resolved' so that must mean it's just a mistake right? We're not so sure, although some people are already reporting that some of their 'deleted followers' have returned a day later, today the 14th Feb 2019.
The general opinion here, which has been form after reading pages of blogs and articles from people in then know is that Instagram did mean to clean up some fake / bot followers from people's profiles, meaning the number of people following you would likely drop, however, the algorithm or set of rules they created, went a bit too far, causing mass panic.
- There are thousands upon millions of what are called 'bot' accounts on Instagram, and it's fairly common belief that Instagram dislike these bots, because they give a fake perception of what is happening, and probably cost them Facebook owned company lots of advertising revenue.
So is Instagram going after bot accounts like never before and deleting their profiles?
What even is a bot account anyway?Well Alex Tooby who's a digital expert wrote a great description for Later.com below, it explains it way better than I could have:
"Instagram bots are designed to help you perform such actions as liking, commenting, and following other accounts on Instagram through automation. These are actions most Instagram users do on a daily basis, but they can take up a big chunk of your time. With the help of Instagram bots, you can plug in parameters, like specific hashtags or accounts to target, and the bot does all the work for you. Some of the most popular bots for Instagram or automation services are Mass Planner, FollowLiker, and Instagress (which was recently shut down!..."
Right, but I didn't ask for any of these robot-bot things to follow me? Sure, but they do anyway, that's part of their design.
The point here is, they were never a real follower anyway so you shouldn't care that they're gone, honestly!
They couldn't understand how nice the sunset was in Thailand that you marked #stunning, they don't care that you lost 3lbs this week on your diet, and when they liked that photo where you'd checked into London, they're probably doing so in the hope that you'll buy some theatre tickets via a weaving user journey.
- Most of those deleted or lost followers should have now returned.
I'll Box Menswear as an example, we lost around 6000 followers on Instagram in a few minutes on Tuesday or Wednesday 12th or 13th Feb 2019, however today, like a gift from the Valentine we don't have, we think at least 5000 of those same accounts are back in our list of followers.
It's difficult to be 100% sure on numbers because we like all other accounts gain and lose certain people all the time, but that's our best guess, so panic over, relax and let's all go back to taking semi NSFW images of our bulges pushing through our boxer briefs. Thank you in advance.
- This point is a little mean, but another reason why it's ok for you, presuming you're not a Youtube or social media megastar is it could have been a LOT worse. We refer to makeup and beauty blogger / vlogger / causer of traffic jams wherever he makes a public appearance James Charles who lost 500,000 followers, yes half a million during the purge!
Feeling a little better now about your own 'misfortune' when put into context? If not, here's a bit more, whilst James was forthcoming about his collapse in numbers, it's reported Ariana Grande lost 3 million from her follower list, and Kim Kardashian lost 2 million.
Look at what he tweeted below:
why did I just lose over half a million followers @instagram wyd sis— James Charles (@jamescharles) 13 February 2019
5. Shall we finish with something philosophical?
Yeah, why not. It doesn't really matter how many followers you've got unless Instagram is your whole income and life.
It's true that there are a lot of people who make a living and earn their full time wage from social media, you know, influencers and the likes, or companies who really depend on Instagram to sell their products etc, however, even for these guys I'd say you've built it up before, you can build it up again if you have lost some numbers.
Here at Box we are really active on Instagram, we often release new products first on social media like our fleece joggers etc, but losing perhaps 1000 followers isn't an issue, especially for the reasons above if they weren't real followers to begin with right?!