Instagram investigates follower count issue

Posted on February 14, 2019

 

Photo-sharing network Instagram has said that it plans to look into a problem that caused the follower counts of some of its accounts to drastically drop.

The company issued a brief statement on Twitter, which explained that it was aware of the issue and was investigating it, with a view to fixing it as soon as possible.

Many of the app’s highest profile users, including celebrities, lost millions of followers. YouTubers Zach Clayton and James Charles were affected, as were popstars Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande, who are second and third on the list of most followed accounts on the platform respectively.

Fast Company, an international business media organisation, released a report suggesting that Instagram has taken steps to remove accounts that it believed to be fake, such as bot accounts, but this is not clear following Instagram’s tweets about an issue with the app.

Many social media sites, including Twitter and Instagram, conduct periodic sweeps of their platforms to remove spam and bot accounts, as well as those which have been left inactive. Instagram announced as recently as November that it was planning the cut the number of fake accounts on the site.

The November announcement stated that it was planning to remove these accounts, their likes, follows and other activity from the site to crack down on the use of third-party apps that aim to boost the popularity of certain accounts. It explained that it would be using machine learning tools and algorithms to identify these accounts.

An update from Instagram on Twitter stated that it hoped to have the issue resolved by today, but it has not yet explained what the issue as of this morning.

The reaction to losing a number of followers has left social media influencers and even regular users deeply upset and demanding that the site fix the issue.

Are we missing the bigger issue?

While there may be an issue with Instagram at the moment that has caused a glitch in the follower accounts, should we be paying more attention to the fact that users are going into meltdown because they lost 32 followers?

Social media was designed to be a fun place for people to keep in touch and communicate with friends and family, but there appears to be an emphasis on the number of likes and followers someone has, especially among younger users. Popularity on these sites can be a good thing for publishers and influencers, but in many cases, it doesn’t really matter if you have three or 300 followers.

Instagram will eventually fix the technical issue on the site, but is the bigger issue the number of users who have an unhealthy obsession about popularity and follower counts?

Alan Littler

Account Executive at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Account Executive.

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