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Instagram’s Spam Sweep is Spilling the Tea on Fake Followers

Last week, Instagram posted an announcement that in the coming weeks, folks will see their follower numbers change because they’re doing a spam sweep. What this means is that any accounts that are robots or fake would be deleted from the platform. What it also meant was that all the people who have bought followers will see a sharp decline in their follower numbers.

Let me pause here to say YES, people buy social media followers. They do it because everyone knows that social media is officially currency so the higher numbers you have, the more important and popular you seem. It’s a shortcut that I am vehemently against because it means absolutely nothing. And the need for notoriety, whether real or not is sad.

Being thirsty for perceived influence is not a good look because when people realize it, egg on your face. It’s a waste of money for fake amplification. Having 20,000 followers doesn’t matter is 15,000 won’t buy from you, click a link or even engage with you in any way.

I also blame the business and PR people who place emphasis STRICTLY on follower numbers, instead of numbers that are backed up with engagement. Because those are the people being tricked by folks who might have 7-figure followers, but only get 20 likes per pic.

Today, Instagram did the spam sweep and everyone lost some number of followers. I was at 12,900 last night and I’m at 12,500 now (Instagram: @Luvvie). The rate of followers you lose needs to match the number of followers you had. So *carries the 1, adds the 5, divide the 8* I lost about 4% of my followers.

high five self tina fey gif

The more followers you had, the more you would have lost in this sweep. But the PERCENT of followers you lost should be between 5-10%. Anything more than a 10% loss deserves incredible side-eye and it probably means you didn’t get there honest.

Needless to say, I’ve been making it my business to find out who’s lost a huge chunk of their following with this sweep. Y’all know I’m petty. A whole lot of folks’ business is being told here. Who bought followers?

Well, MASE! BallerAlert peeped it and his account is now deleted. Mase Bertha (formerly of Shiny Suit Enterprises, formerly of sidekick to Diddy, formerly a man of the cloth) went from 1.7 million followers to 270,000.

Mase Lost Instagram followers

GAAAAHHHTTTDDAAMMMBBB!!! Those comments are gon slay me! “Yooo did Diddy take your follower count too?” I AM #CRINE! But yeah, Uncle Mase went and spent all this money and his currency got wiped out just like that. It’s like someone paying for some clouds so they can sit on it. Chile… good day.

Mase’s Instagram account is now deleted. He must be ‘shamed. Also, Akon went from 4.3 million followers to 1.9 million. WHOOOO! The tea is too sweet! I need a refill. All these folks getting caught up in the InstaRapture.

Someone created a chart of the top 100 Instagram accounts, and the number of followers they had yesterday and what they have today. It confirmed my assessment that 5-10% is the normal rate for followers lost in the sweep.

The moral of this story is: do not buy fake followers on any social media platforms. 1. It ain’t even that serious. b. do the work to grow folks organically and iii. Don’t be the butt of all our cackles because we will find out if you try to cheat your way to influence.


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40 Comments

  1. December 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm — Reply

    Thank you for sharing the chart I put together!

  2. Tiffany
    December 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm — Reply

    I checked out the chart. Number 97 on that list literally went from 3 million Instagram followers to 8. It’s cold out here in these parking lots.

    • CityGirl81
      December 18, 2014 at 4:21 pm — Reply

      The page is now gone #womp

    • December 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm — Reply

      I’m over here wheezing at your comment… #coldblooded

    • Maxine Shaw, attorney-at-LOL
      December 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm — Reply

      EIGHT? Like, 08? Like, two before 10?

    • December 19, 2014 at 12:02 am — Reply

      The Instagram Rapture was too real.

    • Delila Sandlin
      December 19, 2014 at 8:16 am — Reply

      Lmfao LAWD I’m dying off that comment

    • Tanli
      December 21, 2014 at 8:08 am — Reply

      Lolol @ these parking lots!!!

  3. December 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm — Reply

    I am cackling. I mean seriously, buying social media followers is the 2014 version of spending REAL money to buy FAKE crops on Farmville. It’s a baaaaaad investment. Silly sheeple.

  4. Ivylady
    December 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm — Reply

    [email protected] I’m sure folks have been wondering how he had that many followers. He hasn’t been relevant since 1997. Spent all that money that he should have been saving. He can only make so much off royalties.

  5. December 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm — Reply

    I don’t know who chirangchirang78 is but the didn’t do well in the rapture.

    • December 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm — Reply

      LMAO at Rapture!

    • December 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm — Reply

      “the rapture”

      I am now dead and gone.

      I am surprised that for all her fake parts, Kim’s follower count is pretty authentic. She lost about 5%

      #thirsttrapforthewin

  6. Petranilla
    December 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm — Reply

    Diddy lost a good chunk too.

  7. December 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm — Reply

    Earlier this week I hit 10k on Instagram and was gearing up to do all sorts of giveaways….then InstaRapture happened and I got bumped back down to 9.7k. Not complaining though, I’d much rather earn my following with integrity and sound social media strategy. Luvvie, I’d love to see you do a post on what the average engagement would be like percentage-wise for optimized social media postings. You’re awesome, by the way!

  8. December 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm — Reply

    Lol girl I’ve been getting a lot of random followers today. I mean people who would have no interest in my account… people tryna get they follows back up with a quickness!

  9. Krissy
    December 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm — Reply

    #97 lost all but EIGHT followers (before they deleted the account).

    I’ll be damned.

  10. Tia
    December 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm — Reply

    It did me no good to see the hashtag #bringbackourfollowers. Dead.

  11. RonicaOne
    December 18, 2014 at 7:43 pm — Reply

    this & fake 3000$ Nikon cameras. Enlightened. I get request to follow all the time. I am only there in support of my son & other relatives. Poof to the phonies. Eight? SMH

  12. niche
    December 18, 2014 at 8:39 pm — Reply

    Damn#97 lost 99.99% #dead

  13. AB
    December 18, 2014 at 9:34 pm — Reply

    I haven’t really observed my follower count, but I really hope the sweep deleted all these body wrap and hair bundles sellers that are (were?) following me.

    • December 18, 2014 at 11:16 pm — Reply

      Man. Yes. And I was doing so well at keeping them away until I opened my account up to enter a couple of giveaways and it was like opening the flood gates.

  14. Ej
    December 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm — Reply

    But people are serious about them nail videos.

  15. December 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm — Reply

    I am in tears over that commentor who did the Harlem Shake and then chanted “Take That Take That” lol!!!

    Aw, I hate that I did not get to read more of the shade before the account was deleted. 8(

    • Nichelle
      December 19, 2014 at 11:43 am — Reply

      Yesssss! I lost my life when I read that hahaaaaa

  16. December 18, 2014 at 11:14 pm — Reply

    The biggest takeaways from this:
    1) WHO is “chiragchirag78?” They can’t be a real person. Even *I* have more than 8 followers.
    2) There are too many Kardashians/Kardashian affiliates on that list. They have more followers than Rihanna? #HowSway
    3) I wonder how Nicki Minaj wasn’t in the top 100.
    4) Still laughing at InstaRapture.
    5) I can’t wait to see the desperate giveaways and videos made to get those counts back. Glad I don’t care.

    • December 18, 2014 at 11:17 pm — Reply

      Edit: I see Nicki now. I knew that couldn’t be right.

  17. December 19, 2014 at 6:10 am — Reply

    This post made me feel better. I lost about 11%-12‰ of followers HONESTLY earned.

  18. dmcmillian72
    December 19, 2014 at 10:37 am — Reply

    Sooo… Akon went from 4.3 mil to 1.9 mil. Ummm, what the hell was he buying followers for?! I would say 1.9 mil honest insta-followers is excellent. Just damb GREEDY!

  19. Sara
    December 19, 2014 at 11:46 am — Reply

    “The more followers you had, the more you would have lost in this sweep. But the PERCENT of followers you lost should be between 5-10%. Anything more than a 10% loss deserves incredible side-eye and it probably means you didn’t get there honest.”

    ^ This kinda concerns me… I had close to 400 followers, and now have about 300. So I lost 25%. But I’ve definitely never bought followers, or even done anything to purposely acquire followers. I mean, 400 is practically nothing in Instagram world.

    I honestly don’t even care how many followers I have, but now I’m a little weirded out that I apparently lost a much higher percentage than most people!

    • Ms. Q
      December 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm — Reply

      Your case might have been what I was referring to in my comment – if your account is open, any & everybody can follow you so when the sweep happened, you lost those robots or fake pages.

      • Sara
        December 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm — Reply

        Ah, okay, that would make sense. Thanks!

  20. Ms. Q
    December 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm — Reply

    If the page is open can’t those robot followers easily follow them without the account owners having to pay? & I’m not talking about #97 on the list because clearly 99.99% of his followers are gone lol.

    Now let me put this out there so no-one thinks I brought followers or mad about my numbers – I’ve been on IG for a few years now and I only have 265 ppl of which only about 20 interact with me on average… guess my pictures are pretty boring lol

    • atljawga
      December 22, 2014 at 8:27 pm — Reply

      But the value isn’t for the spambots, it’s for the account owners. Spam bots aren’t following for funsies. Te spam accounts get paid to inflate people’s follower count. They’re not doing anything once they follow that benefits their own spam accounts. They already got paid to rack up the owner’s numbers.

  21. December 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm — Reply

    I wonder what would happen if this was done on Twitter too? Hrmmmmmmmm

  22. December 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm — Reply

    I wish Twitter would do this too because I am tired of being followed by freaks and con artists. You can tell the accounts are fake because there are just generic profile pics and no bios.

    Even the account that I run for a religious non-profit group has some spammy escort followers — how rude!

  23. December 19, 2014 at 11:06 pm — Reply

    I thought Twitter did something like this already…or was planning to? Not to mention some Facebook pages need it too. I can’t understand why anyone buy’s followers but as you wrote Luvvie, the reach, and influence that Brands are looking for….not fear to some of us too! I’m early yet w/my own Grammy and FB pages so I don’t have a hoard of followers, so my 28 followers are all accounted for!lol! Even on Twitter, I get ask a lot to buy followers…nope! Not one!

  24. December 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm — Reply

    I think instagram took a step in the right direction.

  25. YvMarie
    December 21, 2014 at 11:03 am — Reply

    LMAO at #BringBackOurFollowers and @TheShadeRoom.

  26. BE
    December 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm — Reply

    I got excited when I saw the announcement. I lost 5.7 % (131) but is still the IG clean up crew to come get these 816 ghost followers that are still lurking.

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