Instagram’s Ruthless New Filter

It’s no secret that the influence social media carries generates some serious bankability these days. With companies and brands actively seeking influential users to endorse their brand, boasting a high follower count can translate into real returns. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a booming trade in the business of buying and selling followers – increased followers equals increased opportunity for revenue. Besides fiscal gains, brands and individuals benefit from the perception of vast audiences, whether that adds an aura of authority, believability, or simply coolness. The greater your follower count, the greater your perceived value.

This is why the “Instagram Rapture” that occurred this month incited such fierce reaction. In a post to their site, Instagram explained that they were conducting a mass cull of those accounts that failed to follow their Community Guidelines – that is, any accounts that had been flagged as “spammy” or “bots”.  The numbers are astounding, with millions of accounts swiftly erased. Justin Bieber lost 3.5 million followers in the purge, Kim Kardashian lost 1.3 million and rapper Ma$e reportedly quit Instagram after losing 1.5 million followers (bringing him down to a paltry 272k). Even Instagram itself wasn’t safe, losing a whopping 18 million followers – the most of any account.

While anyone who purchased followers in the last year will be lamenting the move, it signals a beneficial change for marketers. Now companies will be able to more accurately gauge the true influence of accounts – both theirs’ and competitors’. Additionally, less spam content will clog up their comment sections, leaving more time and space for genuine interaction with followers and consumers. In an industry that has struggled to define the value of individual users and follower count, this move could signal a more transparent and navigable era for social media marketing.

Instagram has launched a new filter, and not everyone will survive the cut.

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