Instagram purges fake followers. Sorry Bieber, Beyonce, Barack

The most popular celebrities on Instagram lose massive numbers of followers after the photo-sharing service purges fake or spam accounts, according to a list published to the Web.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Many celebrities have fewer followers today on Instagram. Instagram

A purge of fake users of photo-sharing service Instagram has shed light on which celebrities were really popular on the site.

Earlier this week, Instagram started removing what it called spam and fake accounts from its service, leaving some of the most popular people on the service -- including big-time celebrities -- with much fewer followers.

For its part, Instagram says that eliminating the accounts will ultimately improve the integrity of its service and keep it only to those who are using it for the right purposes. But the move also provides a glimpse into which celebrities are really popular on the service.

A list published by 64px, shows that pop star Justin Bieber lost a whopping 3.5 million Instagram followers after the purge, reducing his count to 20.3 million people. Kim Kardashian lost 1.3 million followers, while artist Beyonce lost just 832,000 followers. President Barack Obama was somewhat affected by the purge, losing 213,000 followers, falling to 3.5 million people.

Interestingly, it was Instagram's own account that lost the most followers, dropping from 64 million to 45 million after the removal. Bieber was the celebrity who lost the lost most followers. Musical artists Akon and Ariana Grande were right behind.

Post-purge, there has been a shake-up of the top Instagram users. Kim Kardashian, who was previously the second-most-popular celebrity behind Justin Bieber has moved into first place. Bieber is now in third place behind Beyonce. Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez round out the top five.

Instagram did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Via Business Insider)