These Brands Lost The Most Followers in the Great Instagram Purge

Instagram users are still reeling in the wake of last week's Instagram purge, following the photo-sharing company's announcement that it would deactivate accounts thought to be fake or spammy. It turns out that there were a lot of fake users out there: Celebrities from Kim Kardashian to Rihanna lost millions of followers, with Justin Bieber taking the honor of "Most Followers Lost" with a jaw-dropping decline of 3,538,228. But celebs and other human-creatures aren't the only ones affected by the "Instagram Rapture." Major brands, from clothing giants to sports organizations, have also taken major losses, dropping hundreds of thousands of followers overnight.

According to 64px, major losers in the Instagram purge include clothing companies like Victoria's Secret (215,000 followers lost), Forever 21 (245,000 followers lost), and Louis Vuitton (107,000 followers lost). Nike, National Geographic, and The Ellen Show also lost well over 200,000 followers. Instagram itself took a major hit, losing 30 percent (18.9 million) of its followers. Let's pause a moment to take that in: almost 19 MILLION followers. That is only slightly less than the population of Florida.

Although it might sting for these companies to realize that they aren't as popular as they thought they were, in the long run, separating the real followers from the fake can only be good for marketing. As Eric Brown, head of communications for Klout (a tool that measures internet users' social influence) and its parent company, Lithium, remarked in Adweek :

"Purging fake followers is the best thing to happen to social media since promoted tweets. It shows brands that reach is not enough and just a number ... Brands need to be highly engaged with their real customers."
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Instagram purge might be traumatic for some (just look at how sad those Victoria's Secret models are about losing 215,000 fake friends!), but the results of the purge only highlight the fact that in a contemporary world in which social lives are measured according to how many friends and followers one has, how many times a post has been shared, or a tweet re-tweeted, there is often a disconnect between the quantitative measurements of social media and interactions with actual people (or, in the case of the brands listed above, actual customers). For the celebs, brands, and others who so abruptly lost followers, the Insta-purge might be a wound that continues to burn for the foreseeable future—but, hey, at least now they know who their real friends are, right?

Image: Getty Images(2)