Report: Roughly 20 Percent Of Pinterest’s Top 10 Users’ Followers Were Spammers And Fake Accounts

Last week, Pinterest began curtailing the number of spammers and fake accounts on its system, in an effort to clear its platform off unwanted elements. At the time, the company noted that this latest big sweep would mainly affect those with larger follower counts, or those who had purchased fake followers. The majority (99 percent) of users would lose fewer than 10 followers, Pinterest said. Today, we have some figures on what those drops looked like, at least in terms of their affect on top Pinterest accounts.

According to Lyle Dennis, co-creator of Pinterest user directory Top Pinterest Users, the top 10 most followed Pinterest users saw around a 20 percent decline in follower numbers immediately after the Pinterest purge. For example, the top Pinterest user (Joy Cho / Oh Joy!) had 12 million-plus followers before the clean out, and dropped to under 10 million afterwards. She has since gained again, and as of today sits at 10,124,648 followers.

Dennis says he didn’t keep historical data on-hand for the larger Pinterest user base – he just happened to have noticed the changes thanks to a screencap of the Pinterest top 10 which was posted to a social media news blog just before the spam crackdown.

Looking at the numbers again today, which have climbed again for some users since the purge, you can see that the event impacted the rankings, and even booted one user out of the top 10 entirely. Here’s how the numbers have changed for those users before and after the clean out:


  1. Joy Cho/ Oh Joy!: 12,733,689
  2. Bekka Palmer: 8,465,927
  3. Maryann Rizzo: 8,073,270
  4. Bonnie Tsang: 7,889,295
  5. Jane Wang:  7,514,671
  6. pejper:  6,826,436
  7. molly pickering:  6,786,757
  8. Jan of Poppytalk: 6,703,051
  9. HonestlyWTF: 5,483,892
  10. Olya Bastet: 5,162,212

After (as of today):

  1. Joy Cho/ Oh Joy!: 10,124,648
  2. Jane Wang:  6,876,464
  3. Bekka Palmer: 6,785,853
  4. Maryann Rizzo: 6,742,899
  5. Bonnie Tsang: 5,911,135
  6. molly pickering: 5,435,822
  7. Jan of Poppytalk:  5,410,144
  8. pejper:  5,057,767
  9. HonestlyWTF:  4,392,324
  10. Christine Martinez: 4,255,261

Important, please note!  These “after” numbers are current as of today – at the time when Dennis reported the immediate effects to us, some of the after numbers were even lower, with declines falling into a 20-25 percent range, depending on the user, he says.

Although the purge likely did only impact these larger user accounts to this extent, it’s a notable sweep, as the website itself only has around 40 million users globally, according to November numbers from comScore.

For those unfamiliar, the Top Pinterest Users website, also built by Hugo Gameiro, continually checks the top users and boards on Pinterest to ensure its numbers are accurate. However, it does so without using an official API, as Pinterest has not yet released an API publicly at this time. The site also organizes users into various categories, like WeFellow did back in Twitter’s earlier days.