Instagram is dealing with a minor headache right now — cleaning up the junk you don’t want to see.
The Facebook-owned photo-sharing service is purging old, inactive and spammy accounts, the first time it has done so across its entire user base.
I was tipped off late last night after opening the app, when I noticed a pop-up message in my activity feed. You’ll probably see the same thing soon, if you haven’t already.
In a nutshell, Instagram is warning its users that they may see a drop in their followers, due to a purge of the bogus accounts.
“After receiving feedback from members in the Instagram community, we recently fixed an issue that incorrectly included inactive accounts in follower/following lists,” an Instagram spokesman said in a statement. “We believe this will provide a more authentic experience and genuinely reflect people who are actually engaging with each other’s content.”
Instagram isn’t a stranger to spam or bogus accounts. About a year and a half ago, things got so ugly and spammy on the service that Instagram had to acknowledge it publicly, and vowed that it would try harder to take on the problem with the help and resources of its parent company. It also pleaded for the community to police itself by flagging suspect posts and accounts.
From the outside looking in, the purge doesn’t seem comparable to, say, Twitter’s gigantic spam purge of 2013, where the microblogging service killed millions of fake accounts. Anecdotally, I’ve hardly noticed a change in my follower count, and others I’ve spoken with said that they don’t see much of a drop.
But this is the first real push to kill a whole bunch of offenders at once. That’s a good thing — even if it took the company a long time to get around to it.