RIP to my fallen robot followers on Instagram, if there's a heaven for robot instagram users, you guys are in there
— alldaychubbyboy (@Allday)
How do you scale to handle increased user traffic? Have less traffic. No, this is not a koan. The best way to deal with traffic is not to have it.
In a two day span Instagram disappeared 18.9 million users or more than 29 percent of their "followers." Justin Bieber lost 3.5 million followers (15 percent), Kim Kardashian lost 1.3 million followers (5.5 percent), Rihanna lost 1.2 million followers.
Instagram explains this dramatic reckoning was achieved by "removing deactivated spam accounts and accounts that violated its community guidelines."
In an age when high user counts and tantalizing engagement metrics are more valuable than bitcoins, this can't have been an easy decision, but it was made after being bought by Facebook.
Why? Gabe Madway, an Instagram spokesman, tells us why: We totally get that it’s uncomfortable for people. The overall goal is we want it to be perceived that the people following you are real.
Uncomfortable is an understatement. A BuzzFeed article nicely captured some of the anger, here's just one example (could be NSFW):