As a lot of us know by now, last February 12 Instagram did a users clean up; a lot of them were surprised because of what happened. People went to sleep at night, and by the morning they’ve lost hundreds, thousands or even millions of followers. This clean up made a lot of people mad, as expected, but the question is: why did Instagram make this “purge”? We’ll try to answer the most relevant questions.

Was it really necessary?

First, the clean up didn’t fully come from out of nowhere. The company did warn about what was approaching; the reason why it surprised everyone is because that warning was made months ago, so a lot of people didn’t remember, never even knew about it or didn’t think it was a big deal. But even when the warning was subtly shared, why would Instagram do such a thing? There are some very reasonable explanations.

A lot of digging has been made, and everything seems to suggest that most of the deleted profiles were the ones that were not active in the platform, in other words, the “ghost accounts,” and the ones that were not authentic, we mean, of course, the “bots.” This decision seems to divide opinions, there is a lot of users who went mad because of the loose; and on the other hand, there are people supporting the “purge” decision, expressing that it was a necessary measure to ensure a more authentic experience.

IG it’s a platform where followers give you popularity and recognition. And though it may don’t sound like anything harmful, the fact is some accounts with fraudulent followers may do fraudulent deals, and that is one of the actual reasons why Instagram considered this measure as a necessary step to offer a better service.

Sounds a bit paranoiac? Well, the advertisers certainly don’t think so. Everything indicates that what happened is due to the pressure that the company has had on behalf of many advertisers. To get a better understanding of the matter, it is necessary to know how this social network works. IG is a platform that offers their services to more than 813 million users around the globe, and as you can imagine, there’s a lot of money involved to make that possible. But how do they make money when everyone can use it for free?

Like Facebook, Instagram sustains itself out of advertising. Long story short, different companies offer money in exchange for advertising their products on it; therefore, the goal of them is to reach as many people as possible, and for this purpose sometimes they go making deals with users who have a lot of followers. But what happens when a lot of those profiles are actually “fake accounts”? Well, there’s no need to be a genius to know the right answer: the brand who pays for the announcement loses money.

So, Instagram has a lot of pressure from the advertising companies, which turn out to be the ones that provide the main source of income for the platform. The social network board has two options: the first one consists in ignoring the complaints of these brands and, therefore, to risk losing money; while the second option is to carry out a “purge” of different unreliable accounts and keep as many clients willing to promote their products. Guess which option they’ve chosen.

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