Social media users are currently a bit confused (although probably not too sad) after seeing new Instagram followers suddenly appear on their accounts for no discernible reason. The random increase in follower counts seems to have been affecting people mostly today, with numbers of new followers varying by user. (I gained about 30 new followers, while some accounts are said to have gained as many as 50,000. (Jealous.)) The event, while as yet unexplained, is recalling the dreaded Great Instagram Purge of 2014. This recent wave of unexpected, dramatic changes to our follower counts has been, as you might assume, met with slightly less outrage.
Since no one seems to have any verifiable explanation for the sudden follower spike, but since clearly we need to talk about it with each other immediately, folks are taking to Twitter (of course they are) to express sentiments of confusion and gratitude. Did Instagram suddenly reinstate a ton of previously suspended accounts? Are they reversing the Great Purge for some reason? Did they know we had a crap week and decide to make it rain followers so we all felt a little cheered up? Is this just a bug or a hack or some other technical error that will ultimately be corrected, leaving us to weep over our actual follower counts which will then feel anemic and unfulfilling by comparison?
We'll update this post when we find out what exactly is causing the changes to follower counts, but until then, let's all sit and be confused together and then go take some cute pictures of our pets to impress all those new followers (who probably are not real people at all, but whatever, you should probably still take photos of your pet because that's what they're there for).
(UPDATE: According to TechCrunch, the increase in followers was caused by a bug and the numbers are expected to return to normal once it's been completely fixed. Womp.)