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Instagram fake account purge plays havoc with celeb followers

This week saw Instagram boot a veritable truckload of fake and inactive accounts off of follower lists globally.

Tens of millions of phony accounts received the royal insta-boot, leaving some celebs scratching their heads over chunked follower lists.

Justin Bieber, one of the most followed users on the image-sharing service, lost nearly 15 per cent of his followers, as spotted by DigitalTrends – that’s around 3.5 million accounts.

Amusingly this setback knocked the tween star out of the top celeb spot, with socialite Kim Kardashian now ranking first.

Bieber now boasts a paltry 20 million follower count, while Kim Kardashian sits pretty at 22 million – that’s still 5 per cent less than she had prior to the grand account binning.

Even Instagram’s own account – currently the most followed account on the service – saw its followers slide, with the count dropping by an incredible 19 million, down to 45 million.

“We’re in the process of fixing an issue that incorrectly includes inactive or fake accounts in the follower/following lists,” wrote Instagram.

We want to maintain the best possible experience on Instagram, so we do our best to remove spam, fake accounts and other people and posts that don’t follow our Community Guidelines.”

It added: “As we remove these accounts, some people may notice a decrease in their follower/following counts.”

Related: Instagram now has more users than Twitter

Some celebs came off much worse for wear as a result of the move, with a select few losing the majority of their followers – sounds fishy, we’d say.

JWoww, of Jersey Shore fame, is likely feeling sore from the move as she lost a mega 2.5 million followers, bringing her down to just 115,000.

Rapper Ma$e also suffered a similar fate, losing 1.5 million followers and subsequently deleting his account following Twitter abuse over the apparent fakery.

Unfortunately, whether these celebs had paid for followers, or were merely just the unfortunate victims in some nefarious follower boosting plot, we may never know.

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