Instagram acknowledged that a bug caused users to see a large drop-off in their follower count last week. At first, many thought this was due to a widespread deletion of certain accounts but it turns out that wasn’t so.

“We’re aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people right now,” Instagram said in a post. “We’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible.” (

The social media platform has been on a campaign to weed out and cancel accounts that they deemed fake or responsible for spam. This is in line with the public’s demand for more accountability from social networks like Facebook, Twitter and IG. In a presidential election proven to be targeted through such platforms and as a breeding ground for misinformation, social media apps have been forced to clamp down.

Unfortunately, certain legit accounts have fallen under the ax of such a campaign. Around the holidays’ many meme accounts that boasted over a million followers saw their accounts, and all the hard work that went into them, evaporate in an instant.

This was, of course, unfair in many respects but also brought to attention the fact that social media is still the Wild West. Sure there are terms of service (like anyone is going to read 60 pages of legalese) but there’s so much still being left up to interpretation. And as many users try to monetize the system, they have made attempts to crack the code of Instagram’s algorithm (and other platforms). This results in what each may deem a violation of their terms. But it’s their secrecy and unwillingness to share how one might succeed on their playing field that has resulted in certain practices becoming commonplace.

Follow for a follow, buying followers, setting accounts to private and other practices are a reaction to now knowing what will allow one to get ahead. If Instagram or others would share what kinds of things their algorithm rewards then maybe we would all be able to get along.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like their going to be letting us in on it anytime soon. So for now, we’ll all just keep shooting blanks into the dark and see if we hit anything.