Instagram Follower Glitch: How did Ariana Grande and Kylie Jenner lose millions of followers overnight?

By 13th February 2019 Digital, SEO, Social Media
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You might have noticed Instagrammers going wild today over a dramatic Instagram follower glitch.

The social platform made to share photos and short 24 hour stories, has caused mayhem after users woke up to find that thier follower count had declined due to an Instagram follower glitch.

However, it seems not all users have been affected, which has thrown up some interesting questions about the cause and aim of this ‘glitch’

Let’s take a look at a few popular accounts and the impact on their following:

Kim Kardashian was unaffected, at 127 million followers. Yet younger sister Kylie Jenner lost 2 million, causing Kylie, who was almost level with sister Kim, to drop from 126 million to 124 million.

Ariana Grande’s followers also dropped drastically, losing 3 million from 145 to 142 million. Previously Ariana and Selena Gomez held the joint top spot on Instagram for the highest number of followers. Now, unaffected, Selena Gomez reigns Queen of Instagram once again.

But why does this matter?

Many people say that it ‘is just numbers’, however, for others, it’s much more.

There are two key reasons why the glitch is causing distress:

One. Social connections are lost, because not only are people losing followers, their ‘following’ of others has been reduced. Instagram is a social platform, therefore it is only natural that people on this platform will socialise with other users. Therefore connections are built between users, and whether they’ve met in real life or not, friendships are formed. Now, with this ‘glitch’ as Instagram is calling it, many of these connections have been lost. So if you’ve spent time building a community of people that inspire, lift and connect with you, which within one night you have lost, this is devastating. Realistically, without remembering a user name, reconnecting could be impossible.

Two. Simply put, Instagram is many people’s work, their 9-5 and even longer. So ultimately, there’s been a disruption to the very thing that affects how much they earn.

Many users use Instagram as a place to share their latest selfie, holiday snaps of their incredible tan or even just their hazy nights out that for some reason they feel everyone would like to join through their stories. But for others, it’s a different story. Instagram is not just profitable directly for influencers, bloggers and those with a large following or very engaged audience. It’s also a key player when it comes to indirect money making as such.

Imagine, you’re a budding photographer specialising in weddings and other celebratory moments. Yes, you have a website but with so many competitors on the web, it’s hard to be seen. Here’s where social media can help. You build up an active profile of engaged and interested followers who share your work in their stories, or maybe on a photography Instagram page. Everything is going well. You’re getting more enquiries than ever before, and then you wake up one morning and you’ve lost thousands of followers. This is thousands of potential sharers of your work. Thousands of potential clients. Thousands of people to potentially spread the word about your work because they simply no longer follow you. They no longer see your work.

Yes maybe, perhaps a small percentage of the followers you lost will realise they’re no longer following you. But then they have to try and remember your account name. Out of maybe hundreds they see each day. This is the problem. It’s not just a lost follower, its a lost business opportunity, a lost friend, a lost connection.

So, what happened?

First thoughts in the Instagram community were that Instagram was doing one of their ‘secret’ cleanses again. Previously Instagram has tried to enhance the platform by removing any inactive accounts, or fake, bot accounts. This has, in the past, caused celebrities and bloggers to receive a massive shock when checking Instagram and seeing their not so legitimate following has dropped drastically (when bots are involved).

Some users thought they’d been hacked, which is becoming increasingly common, and rushed to change all passwords to try to beat it.

However, the ‘truth’… Instagram has now stated that the mass follower loss is, in fact, a glitch. Not a cleanse as many had thought. Instead, Instagram has announced that they are aware of an issue causing a drop in accounts’ follower numbers and that it is due to a ‘bug’ that they are working to resolve this as quickly as possible.

But is this true?

Well, realistically we don’t think any user will know. A ‘bug’ is an extremely broad term which doesn’t really clear anything up. Were they trying to do an inactive/bot/fake/spam account cleanse which went wrong? Have they been hacked? Is it reversible? Legally are Instagram allowed to ‘refollow’ accounts on behalf of users? We’re assuming maybe if they can, this action on behalf of a user is something covered in their T&Cs which actually for once, we will all be grateful for.

As you can see there is still a mass of unknowns and this may actually just be a waiting game. So if that is the case, and you’ve been negatively affected by the so-called Instagram bug, make sure you brew yourself a very strong coffee. You’re going to need one for this game of follower Spot The Difference we’re all going to be playing.

Let us know below what you think of the infamous ‘bug’ below. Was your account affected?

About Laura

Laura, a self-proclaimed fount of Harry Potter knowledge, has taken up the position of Content and Social Media Executive. With a firm footing in the writing world, she attributes her success to her anthology of short stories, written when she was 6. Since then, Laura has progressed from tales of swamp monsters and has gained a degree in English Literature and History, honed her writing skills and become a bit of a social media addict.. When she’s not sat in silence scrolling through Facebook and/or Twitter, mostly completing Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or Walking Dead quizzes (who needs real friends, right?), you’ll find her eating raw meat of some sort whether it be blue steak or sushi