People on Instagram are worried about a 'purge' after discovering they lost a ton of their followers, but it turns out it was caused by a bug

Kevin Systrom InstagramMarcio Jose Sanchez/AP

  • Instagram users are saying they're suddenly losing massive amounts of followers.
  • The major loss of followers has reportedly affected popular accounts including Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez, Cristiano Ronaldo, and YouTuber James Charles.
  • Instagram said in a statement posted to Twitter that is was "aware" of a bug causing such issues, and was working to fix the problem "as quickly as possible."
  • The drop in follower counts led some to speculate it was caused by the photo-sharing platform's efforts to curb "inauthentic activity," including the use of third-party apps to amass fake followers.

A bug is causing some Instagram users to see their follower counts drop by thousands, and for some, even by millions.

Instagram users started to notice the major changes to their accounts' follower counts on Tuesday night. Instagram responded in a statement, posted to Twitter, saying it was "aware of an issue" and trying to solve the problem "as quickly as possible."

Prominent users liked YouTuber James Charles and actor Don Benjamin wrote on Twitter late Tuesday night that they had seen their follower counts drop by hundreds of thousands. The Instagram-tracking page on Down Detector, a website that monitors website issues, has been flooded with comments from Instagram users reporting drastic drops in followers.

Social media consultant Matt Navarra has been keeping track of the "popular accounts" affected. This lists some users who have apparently lost more than a million followers, including Kylie Jenner, Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez.

The sudden follower drops led many to speculate it was due to Instagram's crackdown on "inauthentic behavior" across the platform. The company said back in November it would be taking steps to target accounts using third-party apps and bots to boost their popularity through faked likes and followers.

Read more: Instagram will soon start cracking down on accounts that use third-party apps to dole out fake likes and followers

Meanwhile, Instagram has denied any sort of "follower purge" taking place, and has blamed the sudden change in followers on a bug.

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