The Great Instagram Purge
If you haven’t heard of Instagram, you will be referred to as a caveman. Everything from fashion, traveling, or even meals, it’s all documented through this viral social media platform. In 2014, Instagram recorded over 300 million users who share their memorable, precious moments to the world. This number is expected to rise in the next following years.
Instagram rose to fame almost instantaneously when it was launched in 2010, and has since gained millions after millions of active users. While it used to only allow uploading photos of memories captured at the exact moment, it now enables users to post videos of as long as 15 seconds, making every moment memorable. Instagram is more than sharing photos and videos, it also allows sharing via the largest networking sites Facebook and Twitter, the popularity of which skyrocketed earlier than Instagram.
Having followers enables an Instagram user to connect with and share their pictures and videos with more than just their immediate friends and family. It allows users to share their captured moments to people thousands of miles away with just a click of a button. For some, the number of followers determines their popularity, while for others, it determines the number of people they can reach out to and become one with in saving memories for a lifetime.
With millions of users around the world, it would be a logical move for any social networking platform to ensure that their users remain active and avoid having more users than they can handle. Technology has since made anything possible, and our favorite platforms have taken necessary measures to make sharing continuously flawless for us as users. While double and fake accounts cannot be immediately determined, spammy and bogus accounts continue to be a target for avoidance.
Spam is defined as irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients. What better way to reach millions of Internet users than on the most popular social media platforms everyone is inclined to be addicted to? Facebook and Twitter have had their fair share of spammy accounts, I’m sure, but to no extent shall Instagram allow its site to be purged by what seems a mostly innocuous, but sometimes disruptive behavior from such accounts.
In an attempt to stop the notion that the number of followers determines popularity, as well as get rid of spammy and fake accounts once and for all, Instagram has taken measures that left the whole world in awe earlier this month. Although it is reportedly doing this regularly, what surprised the world was how millions of users were banished overnight. This was despite of Instagram’s warnings in early December, reportedly to improve the users’ experience. Accounts were to be deleted permanently, rendering a loss of millions of followers to its users. Yes, millions- overnight.
Justin Bieber, who had over 23 million followers before the ‘cleansing’ began, ended up with a little over 20 million. Still a lot, but with over 3 million followers vanishing faster than he could blink an eye, he surely was surprised waking up to this. Following Bieber with 23,519,002 followers is Kim Kardashian, who lost 1.3 million of them in the process. This made her climb to the number one spot, kicking Bieber off the throne.
With plummeting numbers of followers, singing superstars Beyonce, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez followed thereafter losing 800 thousand, 1.5 million, and 1.1 million followers respectively, while putting Bieber farther behind. Even Instagram’s own account with over 64 million followers lost an estimated 18,880,211 in their own purge that began on the second week of December. Among other celebrities who lost hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers following the so-called ‘Instagram Rapture’ were Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Bruno Mars, Kendall Jenner, Harry Styles and Rihanna.
The community of Instagram users have expressed (yes, aside from disbelief and disdain) mixed emotions towards the platform’s decision to remove an estimated 10 million dummy and spammy accounts. Good riddance may be used to describe the banishment of these accounts, but for some, bashing Instagram was necessary.
It has been evident on Instagram and other social media sites how many freaked out. Despite the harsh words directed towards Instagram in its decision to make our experience better, Instagram has proven once and for all how the site has been tainted by bot accounts that generate automatic (but bogus) likes. Instagram maintains that this process will only ensure that likes and comments will be nothing but bona fide, making it a true measure of fame- if that’s how we’d like to put it.
While many of us may still be mourning over our sudden loss of followers, the chaos that this has brought will soon dissipate, the dust will settle and service will resume as per usual. This time though, with a more genuine experience on Instagram – something to be thankful for.