Instagram Deletes Millions Of Fake Accounts, Celebs See Their Followers Plummet

Imagine of the horror of being Justin Bieber and waking up to find that your Instagram fan base has diminished by 3.5 million followers overnight, or 15 percent. Talk about a feeling of loneliness in your sprawling mansion! Except of course for the multiple housekeepers and entourage, but otherwise, how horrific, right? It wasn't just the pop singer who lost scores of followers, either. In an effort to purge spammers, Instagram wiped out millions of fake accounts, causing celebrities to lose a significant amount of their fan base.

According to Business Insider, rapper Mase went from 1.6 million followers to 100,000 within minutes. Apparently the sight of a tumbling Instagram fan base was so hard to bear he decided to delete his account outright. Others took it in stride.

Justin Bieber Instagram

"This Instagram bloodbath is hilarious," Josh "The Fat Jew" Ostrovsky said. "This should be a national holiday. We all know who bought followers, so today just corroborated everyone's suspicions. So many people losing their followers, watching their digital worlds crumble. Today is so fun."

While we jest about something that amounts to a first world problem, and one that affects the 1 percent at that, not everyone is finding humor in the situation. There's more to having a large number of followers on social media than just warm fuzzies -- there's big money involved from advertisers and companies looking to attach their brands with popular celebrities, and services like Instagram provide a platform for reaching a wide audience. Except when that audience turns out to be fake.

Web developer Zach Allia posted a list of the 100 most popular accounts and how hard each one was hit. Instagram itself absorbed the brunt of the losses, going from 64.1 million followers to 45.2 million followers overnight, a loss of nearly 30 percent.