Shortly after finishing my studies earlier tonight, I checked my Instagram stats on SocialBlade. To my horror, I discovered my writing account lost an astounding 764 followers in one instant. At first, I wondered if I had posted something horribly offensive without knowing it, causing my followers to flee in a mass exodus. Then I wondered if I was hacked. Turns out, it was neither.
I did some quick digging and found that several other accounts I follow also took a plunge in follower count, showing similar stats to mine.
But it wasn’t just the writers’ niche. James Charles, a pop-culture icon, Tweeted this:
Dozens of other celebrities reportedly lost hundreds of thousands of followers, and Instagram itself lost several million.
My initial research led me to believe this mass unfollowing had something to do with Instagram deleting bot accounts as they did back in November of last year (for details on this, check this article). But after scrolling through the replies to James Charles’ tweets, I found many like this one:
Apparently, a lot of people were automatically booted from their favorite creators’ following lists. Some people theorize that Instagram removed followers who haven’t recently interacted with a given account, but too many counterexamples of this exist for me to believe that. Here is one from the user mentioned above:
A lot of people are upset with the purge, especially since Instagram has yet to respond to any questions on the matter.
Until they do, rest in the knowledge that you’re not alone and you didn’t say anything outlandish to scare your followers away (probably)!
I’ll update the article as soon as I hear more on the nature of the purge!
Update 1 — Glitch Confirmed
Instagram released a statement this morning acknowledging the issue and confirmed that it was, in fact, a glitch and not an intentional bot-ban as is in the past.
Update 2— Fix Coming Soon
According to the official Instagram Twitter, a solution should be expected tomorrow morning!
Update 3 — Issue Appears to be Resolved
While Instagram is yet to announce a resolution to the problem, many users have gotten their followers back (*collective sigh of relief*).