Did you notice a humongous spike in your Instagram follower count over the weekend? If so, we hate to be the bearer of bad news: The sudden increase wasn’t due to a cat photo you posted, but a bug that caused some users’ follower counts to go way up, according to The Independent. Instagram is aware of the situation, and once the bug is fixed, the user count should return to normal.
TechCrunch first learned of the issue on July 10, when a social media manager for celebrities informed the site of the anomaly. “Some of them had suddenly gained hundreds, thousands, and for the biggest stars like King Bach, as many as 100,00 new followers,” TechCrunch’s Josh Constine writes. “A search on Twitter showed many users with smaller followings also saw an instant increase over the last day or so. Some were confused about whether those were real people who followed them or if Instagram was hacked.”
Instagram users have encountered fluctuations in follower counts before. Previously, the company did a purge of the many spam accounts that used to plague its site, resulting in drops by as much as 15 percent. But what makes this latest follower-count change noteworthy and different – besides the number of consequently sad users who’ll see their follower counts go down – is that it wasn’t about removing bots and fake accounts. It appears to be the fault of a glitch in how the site counts follower numbers.
The reaction from users has been mixed, with some expressing initial, pleasant surprise, to confusion.
— Jake Miller (@jakemiller) July 10, 2015
Did Instagram just credit everyone with new followers or did fake profiles get reactivated? Numbers are up.
— Liz Hernandez (@LizHernandez) July 10, 2015
So, if you’re one of the users who found him or herself a bunch of new Instagram friends, enjoy your social media stardom while you can, because they are going away.