It turns out Justin Bieber isn’t the most popular person on Instagram after all. In what’s being dubbed “Instagram Rapture,” the Biebs lost 3.5 million followers overnight—about 15 per cent of his total—as the social media site deleted many of the spam and fake accounts off its site.
Bieber wasn’t the only celebrity hit with a rude awakening after the overnight purge. Rapper Akon lost more than half his followers, while pop star Bruno Mars lost about one-quarter. Losing followers can have a significant impact on branding and sponsorship, as advertisers often look to the number of followers to gauge a celebrity’s popularity.
Even though the followers weren’t real, many were saddened to see the sudden drop.
There may be 545k Instagram followers left, but my 11k spam followers that dissapeared took a piece of my heart w them #instarapture
—Matt McGorry (@MattMcGorry) Dec. 19, 2014
Those most upset can at least take solace in the fact that the biggest loser of the night was Instagram’s own Instagram account, which lost almost 19 million followers.
As for the new celebrity leader in Instagram followers, with Bieber dropping down to approximately 20 million, all hail the new Instagram queen: Kim Kardashian.