Instagram milestone prompts spam crackdown
Instagrammers can expect their follower counts to take a hit as the firm begins deleting fake and spam accounts in coming weeks.
The social media giant has been deactivating such accounts for some time but will now wipe them from the web for good.
"Follower counts will be fully accurate and only reflect the actual human beings or actual accounts that are following you," said Gabe Madway, Instagram's communications chief.
"We want you to believe that your interactions and the people you share with are real people and are following you in good faith."
Users whose follower counts drop will receive an in-app notification explaining the change.
The move was revealed on Thursday alongside new user figures showing Instagram is now used by more than 300 million people per month.
That's a rise of 100 million since March and eclipses rival Twitter, which boasted 284 million active monthly users as of the end of September. The company doesn't disclose Australian user numbers.
Instagram also revealed it will begin verifying public figures and brands in a bid to cut down on imposter accounts, much like Twitter does with its blue tick system.
Musicians, movie stars and athletes will be among the first to get verification in coming weeks, with other groups being added later.
The dual moves to increase authenticity should benefit both users and advertisers, who will have more accurate information about how many people they're reaching, Madway said.
Instagram began slowly rolling out ads to a limited number of Australian users in October.
It claims users share about 60 million photos each day.