3 Years Since the Instagram Purge hit Major Celebrities

In 2014, Instagram did a major ‘user cleansing’. This user cleansing, otherwise known as the “Instagram Purge” removed automated accounts in the social media app. Most of these accounts are self-operated bots that have different purposes. These bots may artificially increase someone’s social media following, promote products through spamming, or worse, perform phishing and other malicious online activities. Instagram wants to remove these fake accounts due to the aforementioned reasons, and also to promote genuine user interaction. The social media app has maintained its daily cleansing of fake followers ever since.

These fake accounts follow most celebrities and other famous Instagram users. When the Instagram purge happened overnight, everyone was shocked with how the number of their followers plunged to thousands down, and even millions.

Justin Bieber’s Instagram account was one of the most affected during this cleansing. The musician lost 3.5 million followers in a span of 24 hours. Hip-hop artist Akon also lost half of his Instagram followers. Other popular users affected were Tyga, Kim Kardashian and Ma$e, who lost around 1-2 million followers in their accounts.

While this is seen as a security improvement done by Instagram, some celebrities and other personalities are furious over the change. Owning an Instagram account is perceived as a popularity by numbers. Like other follow-based apps, more followers means increased popularity. The negative reaction towards the bot removal is understandable in this perspective.

Additionally, this was done by Instagram to prevent users from gaining fans through 3rd party websites, offering followers in exchange for money. This is in conflict to Instagram’s recently offered Sponsored Content, which is their own paid advertising system. Their Sponsored Content program aims to provide real engagement from targeted users.

Aspiring Instagram personalities also reacted to the cleansing. Some of them expressed anger, frustration, and confusion upon losing a large amount of following in a short period of time. Even Instagram’s own account in the photo-sharing app was not spared from the follower removals, causing millions to be deducted from the numbers.

Whether this event is seen as good or bad news all depends on one’s perspective. If users are all about bragging rights and putting up a ‘fame’ facade, then this is an undesirable feat. Forming impressions on social media are important to some extent. It is sometimes effective to build more following if other users can see that your account already has several fans. However, getting more followers does not mean having “real” fans. In the end, only real people–not bots, can show genuine engagement.

Most Popular Accounts on Instagram 2018

5. It shouldn’t be any surprise why Kim Kardashian-West made our list at #5. Not only does she have 104 million followers, but her photos never cease to embody the ferocity of her personal style and sense of fashion. Simply put: she’s the Contour Queen of Instagram, and always delivers a blend of laid-back sweetness with posh extravagance. We can all safely admit that whether she’s walking around in sweatpants or posing in Vivienne Westwood, our girl makes a statement- and what’s more Instagram than that?

4. We can’t have a top 5 anything without including Beyonce, so that’s exactly what we’ve done. With 108 million followers, Queen Bey is still taking social media by storm. Every selfie on her account gives us that spark of awe and determination to light our inner fire, and we couldn’t be any more obsessed with her for it. Our year with Bey has been one of pure royalty and joy- from Lemonade to the Carter twins- making us feel personally included every step of the way. In short: we’re slain.

3. When we picture an Adonis of the 21st Century- someone who is both exceptionally athletic and drop-dead gorgeous- our obvious choice is Cristiano Ronaldo (and it seems most of the world agrees). With 115 million followers to his name, Ronaldo continues to entice us. Every kick, jog, sprint, and lift keeps us scrolling for more, while his family-centered selfies can melt even the coldest of hearts. And that smile? Enough said: he’s the whole Instagram package.

2. With 115 million followers, Ariana Grande just can’t stop delivering cuteness with realness. Whenever she posts a video from one of her shows, it’s like we’re there with her (like, literally on stage). Every photo translates to one simple yet profound statement: shine like the star you know you are, even if no one else sees it. We will, Ariana, and we’ll never stop loving you for it.

1. What can we say about Selena Gomez and her 129 million (incredibly loyal) followers the world hasn’t already covered? Well, we can start by expressing how incredibly ethereal her photos are, her indescribable fashion sense, and the all-around inner love we have for the girl-next-door with an attitude. Whether she’s posting photos of her on-set shoots or letting us glimpse into the everyday ongoings her personal life, we’ll continue to follow whatever she decides to share.