Don't panic if your Instagram follower count just dived

Instagram has flipped the kill-switch on spam accounts, and it's a move which is likely to prompt some surprise among users of the photo sharing social network, as their follower counts take a hit. The company announced earlier this month that, while it may have 300 million users, it also has something of a spam account problem, and one it intended to deal with. While verified accounts for celebrities and other high-profile users was one strand of that, the other is a cull of fake profiles that has taken effect today.

It's that which could have a knock-on effect on Instagram users' follower numbers, as the weeds get pruned out and profiles start showing realistic, human follow counts rather than artificially increased versions.

Now, it's worth noting that this isn't a drop in engagement for your photos – unless of course you only judge such things by the raw numbers – since most spam accounts are trying to push their own message rather than appreciate your filtered shots of cats doing hilarious things.

As well as people trying to push spammy goods and services (including, ironically, more Instagram followers), the company's clean sweep will also include accounts that don't follow its community guidelines. That includes nudity, video or photos of illegal actions, or anything that promotes or "glorifies" self-harm, among other things.

Not everyone is going to see a change today, with Instagram pointing out that it did a similar sweep back in April 2014. If you're affected, there should be an in-app notification telling you exactly what has happened and why when you next open up Instagram itself.

MORE Instagram