Over the last 24 hours, several Instagram users have complained of a sudden drop in follower counts, with some having lost millions, including top celebrities like Ariana Grande (her Instagram profile stats shown below):
While initially it was believed to be a result of Instagram cracking down on fake, spammy or inactive accounts, the company has now made an official statement, acknowledging the issue and assuring that a fix is on the way.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, is among the most popular platforms for sharing photos and videos, and nearly all top celebrities have Instagram profiles with hundreds of millions of followers.
Interestingly, Facebook recently announced that it planned to unify its three main social networking services, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, possibly allowing users to natively send messages and share media across services.
Just yesterday, glitch-hunter Jane Manchun Wong discovered that Instagram may be testing direct messaging functionality for the web on desktops. She shared images of her discovery before announcing that Instagram had disabled access to the prototype.
It makes sense for Instagram to support direct messaging via desktops since WhatsApp and Telegram messenger both have popular desktop clients and are widely used for communicating without having to use the mobile apps.
However, until now, the web version of Instagram supports very basic functionality, such as following people, liking posts and leaving comments. It is not clear yet whether Instagram will be adding the ability to upload images via the desktop version.
For now, most popular Instagram users are concerned about their follower counts, which can make a significant impact on their perceived reach. This is important because over the last few years Instagram has become a major influencer platform, where celebrities and popular personalities, such as streamers and models have been able to monetize their influence by promoting various products.
If you are affected by the recent bug and have lost followers, it might be best to wait until the company officially resolves the issue. Things are probably going to go back to normal very soon.