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Instagram faces outrage after mass spam account cull

As the photo sharing service promised, Instagram has gone ahead with its deletion of fake and spam accounts (artificially pumping numbers with such accounts can be relatively big business on social networks).

When Instagram announced it had overtaken Twitter with 300 million users, it also said that it would be permanently deleting a large number of spam accounts (which had already been deactivated on an ongoing basis).

However, the actual deletion of them would see some folks take a hit on follower counts, obviously enough, and indeed the effects have been quite profound on some of the big Instagram accounts.

Justin Bieber saw 3.5 million casualties – a full 15 per cent of his follower base – and Kim Kardashian lost 1.3 million followers, according to a New York Times report. Instagram itself took the biggest hit though, with the official Instagram account dropping by almost a third of its followers, nearly 19 million users (these numbers were put together by software developer Zach Allia, incidentally).

Going forward, Instagram will ensure that spam accounts which are discovered will be continuously purged, i.e. just deleted there and then, rather than simply deactivated and left artificially boosting follower accounts.

Instagram also recently announced that verified badges will be coming to the service, so you’ll be able to tell whether a celebrity (or brand) account is an authentic one. The photo sharing service is certainly serious about cleaning its act up as regards misleading accounts and follower numbers.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.