Friday, December 19, 2014

Instagram deletes millions of fake accounts - revealing true reach of celebrities

The number of followers in social networks has been used as a way to rank which celebrities are more popular than others. But now that Instagram has deleted millions of fake accounts, some have seen than number drop substantially.

We all know we shouldn't believe everything we see on the internet, and that includes the quantities of followers someone has on any social network. We've already talked about the millions of fake Facebook users and the lucrative fake follower business on Twitter, and the same happens in Instagram - though this time they decided to do something about it.

Instead of simply letting things be, Instagram decided to delete all detectable fake/spam accounts, and the results are both funny and worrying. The top 100 users have lost millions of followers, revealing which celebrities had a suspiciously high number of fake followers, with once extreme case being an account "chiragchirag78" that dropped from more than 3 million follower to just... 8. Yep, that means that 99.9998% of its followers were in fact fake accounts - and giving us an rough idea of this problem's dimension.

Not surprisingly, the account that lost more users was Instagram itself - I guess most fake accounts follow Instagram as a way of trying to look less "fake" (not that it seems to be working though.)

The worrying part is that some users are calling for Instagram to bring back the fake accounts, so that they can get their "fake" follower count! Is this really what we want for our society? People being so self-centered and withdrawn from the world that they actually value a number more that actual people?

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