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Instagram mass-deletes spam accounts, users freak out

After purging millions of fake Instagram accounts this week, this housekeeping move by the social network resulted in angering all the users that define their self worth by a follower count. Angry Instragram users have flocked to Twitter to voice their disappointment over losing hundreds, thousands or even millions of fake followers.

Instragram addressed this change recently statingWe’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.” Instagram also indicated that this purge started happening during April 2014 and should be complete by the end of the year.

Interestingly, this purge knocked Justin Bieber out of the number one spot celebrity spot on the social network. According to Web developer Zach Allia, Bieber lost nearly 15 percent of his followers (3.5 million accounts) after the purge. This pushed his total follower count to just over 20 million. That’s two million shy of Kim Kardashian, who now has approximately 22 million followers after losing around just over 5 percent of her follower count. The most followed Instagram account, @Instagram, lost nearly 19 million followers which pushes the total count on that account down to 45 million.

A huge drop in follower count is possibly indicative of users that purchased fake followers. For instance, Jersey Shore’s JWoww lost nearly two and a half million followers pushing her count down to just over 115,000. Another huge drop occurred on rapper Ma$e’s account, shedding about 1.5 million followers. This pushed him to delete his account entirely after rampant mocking on Twitter and other social networks regarding his high percentage of fake followers. Besides fake accounts created to boost a user’s overall follower count, this week’s purge also removed accounts that promoted “nudity, video or photos of illegal actions, or anything that promotes or “glorifies” self-harm.”