If you follow celebrities on Instagram, you probably are not alone, but you are definitely a lot more alone now after the social networking service purged millions of fake accounts.
“Your number of followers has changed,” Instagram told all users this week. “We just completed a fix to remove spammy accounts.”
Celebrities were among the hardest hit by Instagram’s bogus account trimming, explains the New York Post.
The Facebook-owned social media site cut about 1.3 million “fans” of Kim Kardashian on Thursday. Similarly, some 1.2 million accounts following Rihanna and some 300,000 accounts following Katy Perry went missing.
Oprah lost 100,000 Instagram followers. Andy Cohen of Bravo fame lost 20,000.
The Post hedged carefully about the owners of the purged accounts, but the fact is that famous people (and people who want to be famous) often purchase followers, or pay social media proxies to do this dirty work.
“It’s very inexpensive,” Michael Heller, CEO of Talent Resources, told the paper.
The going rate for fake Twitter followers appears to be a little over $1 for every hundred followers or so.
Celebs have a rational economic interest for generating social media followers by hook or by crook: Companies will pay them upwards of $100,000 for product placement in posts. Fee negotiations are based in part on the number of followers a celebrity has.
The purge of Instagram followers has become a bit of a Twitter sensation (#InstagramPurge).
The biggest loser in this week’s purge hasn’t been a celebrity at all, notes Elite Daily. A sad, now-erased Instagram account with the name “chiragchirag78” went from 3,660,468 Instagram followers to just eight post-purge. Eight.
On Twitter, of course, President Barack Obama is the world champion of fake followers. Over 19.5 million of the 36.9 million Twitter accounts following Obama as of September 2013 did not belong to real people, reports the Daily Mail.