No, your last selfie didn’t win you hundreds or thousands of new followers. Instagram confirmed to me today that a bug has caused some users’ follower counts to increase, but that this was a bug that’s being fixed. That increase in people’s follower count will disappear once the bug is completely fixed.
Earlier today, a manager that works with big social media stars tipped me off that some of them had suddenly gained hundreds, thousands, and for the biggest stars like King Bach, as many as 100,00 new followers. A search on Twitter showed many users with smaller followings also saw an instant increase over the last day or so. Some were confused about whether those were real people who followed them or if Instagram was hacked.
After reaching out to Instagram, the company told me it was a bug, not some kind of attack, saying “some people’s follower counts (as shown on their profiles) have spiked (incorrectly) due to a bug. We’re fixing the bug and counts will be made accurate once we’ve got it fixed.” The company referred me to this Help Center post.
That means that the increase was a mistake, but once the bug is fixed, people’s follower counts will drop back down to normal. There were no actual people following or unfollowing anyone. Only the number shown on people’s profiles increased, and soon it will return to where it should be.
In the past, Instagram has deleted large numbers of fake spam accounts at once, causing people’s follower count to drop. People naturally panicked that they had offended their followers, but in reality they were wrongly inflated before.
But today was a bug. So, sorry if you thought you were more popular all of a sudden. You’re not. Selfie on.