06th Feb 2018 by Andrew Barr

Is Instagram testing a bot follower cull on the UK Female Fitness Influencer sector?

Andy checking in with something I have spotted from the land of Instagram and the murky world of Influencers buying fake followers. We use a social media tool to follow and track thousands of Instagram influencer accounts across loads of different niches and territories.

This morning, whilst on a train journey I was looking through some of the audience numbers and spotted a trend that people with influencer accounts in the UK female fitness niche had started to see some huge falls. When I dug into it a bit more I could see that a good number of accounts with 100k plus of followers seemed to have had a dip in follower numbers at around the same date and time.

I suspect this may be connected to a fake follower company called Devumi getting busted over in the US, but I need to get deeper into the stats and I don't have the time right now to do that (writing this in the back of a black cab). It looks as thought this happened on the 22nd January 2018 to around the 29th January. I have created the below gif to show what I mean.

I had stripped out the follower numbers and account names as I don't think it is fair to out people when I don't have all the stats and fact to back it up. Plus, these five accounts are all picked at random from the thousands that we follow.

I suspect that if this is the case and Instagram considers this test to have been successful then it could lead to them rolling out the fake followers cull to a wider audience. For the UK influencer marketing industry this could have huge ramifications and give the price-correction that so many social media folk (including myself) have been saying is coming. Right now the prices for working with UK based influencers is (relatively) far more expensive than working with influencers from other countries... a fake follower cull should address the pricing disparity.

Here is the gif I cobbled together on the train (five UK female fitness influencers picked at random, names and number stripped out, dates left in).

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