Getting rid of your Instagram followers

I really love English. The people. - but I love the language more. Much more.

Some words in life I like, some words I just don’t like. I don’t know why – I was born that way. I think it boils down to a few factors by which I gauge words. Some words are really easy to say, and they sound sexy like ‘’red rover’’ or ‘’yoyo’’. They roll off my tongue and out of my mouth and I could say them the whole day…. Red rover, yoyo, red rover, yoyo….

Other words, however, make me want to vomit. Maybe because the sound of them reminds me of what they mean or maybe I heard them somewhere before and my subconscious mind is telling me to stay away. Whatever the reason, there are two words that I heard this week again – after not having heard them for a long time – and the reason that I heard them is not good. Not good at all.

It’s 14 February 2019. Valentine’s day. The day of luuuuuuuuv….honey!

You wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – just like a squirrel – to wrap your loved one’s gift, before they wake up, as you didn’t have time last night, having finished all your work so as to spend today with your better half.

Your phone vibrates while you wrap and while biting a piece of sticky tape off in your mouth you nearly swallow it whole, as your eye catches the image on the screen of your phone. Remaining dead calm, you very slowly stick the sticky tape to the paper, while your hands start to shake. You grab your phone but miss it several times, as you hand is shaking too much. After several tries, you pick up your phone and press really hard on the screen, nearly breaking it. The pic is gone, now but you know what you saw. You go into the app.

Between all the cute little pink and red hearts you see in your feed, smiling faces of your followers and friends and kissy-kissy pics, you glance at your total followers count. Half of your followers are gone.

You fall over backward and hit your head on the floor. The sound doesn’t wake your partner up, who is still fast asleep. Red blood starts seeping into the floorboards. That is where the love of your life finds you three hours later after having slept late. Grey, cold and stiff as rigor mortis has already started to set in.

No, not really. But it could have happened. Easily.

Two sticky words

The two words I am referring to, are ‘’purge ‘’and ‘’glitch’’.

Before the first movie called The Purge, I had never actually heard of the word. I also didn’t like the movie. I think I watched about 30 minutes of the first one, if that. I didn’t give the second the time of day.

It’s just that the word sounds like ‘puke’. Like – I’m sure that could also be seen as purging I have déjà vu of sitting in front of a toilet after having had too much alcohol to drink. Not a pretty sight, I know.

The word glitch sounds just like the action or mistaken action it describes: Something that doesn’t work, but because of it being a slippery situation, it happens anyway. Like for example if you want to cheat on someone and you hear a whisper: ‘’…hi, let’s just glitch in here and make it hot and steamy... Or if you receive a WhatsApp message: “hey sexy, feel like a glitch?’’. Or while lying in bed at night: ‘’Honey, do you have a headache?’’ No babe, why? I want to glitch!

Instagram is the best social media platform in the world. We also know that many users buy followers, likes and comments in order to get ahead - especially when they are just starting out in their social media careers. The competition of getting to the top is extremely fierce.

Your Mom was right about Instagram

It’s no wonder you want to have a piece of the pie - and a huge pie that is! Your Mom taught you that no amount of money can ever buy you, friends? In real life, yes - but not in social media. In fact, the total opposite is true.


‘Bot – short for robot – can plague any social account, not just the cream of the crop, but small people like me and you. It is easy to see which profiles are fake and you don’t need any tools, just some savvy.

I was looking round the internet the other day and came upon this interesting information that I put into the table below.

Did you know?


Taking the shortcut

Not everybody has the time to become obsessive about SEO and algorithms and Instagram-things the whole time. Some of us have to work sometimes and I can;t help but think that everytime I get the hang of something - I finally understand it - someone changes the end. Then I need to start from the beginning.

Like the new algorithm. Apparently it’s a big secret. Paying websites to follow you is also not the way to go, apparently. In the case of your page becoming a few thousand followers richer within the blink of an eye, for whatever reason, your profile gets flagged immediately.

What kind of establishment do you think this is?

All of a sudden, you gain a few thousand followers literally overnight, or by the drop of a few hats. It wakes you up in a cold sweat at 3 o’clock - the witching hour. You can’t sleep as you don’t know where these ghosts are coming from.

You receive an email from Instagram the next morning which basically looks like this:

Two steps back

What if you work your backside off and could lose it just in the matter of a few weeks – because of a stupid mistake?

Easy come, easy go

Another thing is that if you use the platform to make money by marketing products for businesses, your job offers will become non-existent. Worthwhile brands will not give you the time of day – irrespective of it being your fault, or not. In the long run, just get rid of them. It’ easier and less stressful.

Make a decision. Get rid of the ghosts. Sooner, rather than later.

But how to do that is another question

There is more than one way to skin a cat.

There are many ways to get rid of these people on your profile. I will go through some of them below, taking you step by step in detail, and I must warn you not all of the methods are easy, but effective nonetheless. In my opinion, it seems that buying followers is much easier than getting rid of them.


Getting your A, B, C’s right

How to know which ones are fake? It is really easy so don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Make dead sure the person you want to delete is not a real person. After this, you will be a spot-a-fake-follower expert.

One by one

Change your account to private. LLet's start with what will be the easiest for you. If you already know the person’s name, go to the profile. Click followers on the top of your screen. Which type of phone do you have and select that and then click remove and Bob’s your uncle. They won’t be notified that they have been removed. Maybe if woudl be a good idea to block them as well, just to make sure. They won’t know you blocked them either.

The long way round

The second tactic to get rid of them is by doing it manually. This is when you have no idea who most of your followers or ghosts are and is suitable for business Instagram accounts. Firstly, you need to identify them. If they have usernames that are a combination of an actual human name and an unusual code, chances are 99% that they are fake.

Third party companies who sell Instagram followers and likes often use generic human names that are followed by number or code, for example: John, I would probably use something like John, Joe, Jack - whatever takes my fancy, followed by any number, e.g. John 22267, John 22268, John 22269, etc. Or Joe22270, and maybe Jackit22299.
Identify that follower. If they only follow you, never comment, never engage and post less than your grandmother who doesn’t know how to use social media, check out their page and have a look there.

Be a detective

Check out their profile picture. Is it a real person or is it an egg? If it’s a flower, an egg or something abstract, I would say it is a bot. Got you!!

Is the patient dead

Then have a look at their engagement. Lots of action and no satisfaction - the started following you a while ago and then a very evident flat line of nothing - as if someone had just died?
Start at A in your followers and select every follower you think might look unusual’. You’ll soon get the hang of it and be able to spot a ghost or bot follower a mile away. Use the method below.

Checklist tick boxes



Delete all these that tick at least 5 out of 7 of these boxes on the infographic.

Please note that Instagram doesn’t list all your followers when you search by alphabetical order at once. Sometimes it refreshes as it hasn’t got through every single follower. Unfortunately, you would need to research the A’s and go through the list again. Do this for every letter of the alphabet.

Use app

The third option I would suggest is to use an app. Depending on how desperate you are to get rid of your followers. It might be simpler for you.

Be warned

Not all apps are created equal, unfortunately. There are a plethora of apps that allow you to quickly delete but there are many things you should look out for when looking for the right app. The platform puts restrictions on third-party apps. You can only do a minimal amount of actions in a period of set time. Thereafter, you must wait a while before doing it again.

This irritating feature makes it difficult to delete your followers quickly.

This might then take weeks and weeks to get rid of your followers. By that time, your Instagram profile might be blocked!

One way to get around this is to see if yours works per device. In other words, if you have set aside a few hours to fix your account before it gets blocked for good, do the following: Delete 50 followers from your phone’s app. Instagram will then complain, because this is a lot of activity in a short period.

Log out of Instagram on your smartphone. Then login again on your laptop or pc and delete another 50 and vice versa and so on. See if it works for you.


Maybe you could try this, which leaves out a step, but I don’t know if it always works. Login to your account and click on settings. Instead of removing the ghost, just block him? It might work for you. To block someone, tap on their name and click and go to their profile. Click on the three dots that are in a line at the top of the right-hand corner of your screen. Then tap the ‘block’ button.

After you have blocked a person’s profile their likes and comments aren’t removed from your pictures. You need to remove these manually as well, if you want to.

The last resort

As a totally last resort, if you don’t have the time to complete the other methods that I told you about above, would probably be then to delete your Instagram profile. I know this is not ideal, but depending on the reason why you want to get rid of all your followers or so many of them at one time, it might be the best option in many cases and to save your reputation. You could then always use a stupid excuse to explain why you did it.

The temporarily disable of Instagram doesn’t delete your account. It only hides your profile for the time from when you select the option, till when you login again. It doesn’t change the status of your account or the amount of followers you have. You can see it being a profile ‘vacation’.

Deleting your account is permanent with Instagram. Unlike Facebook who keep your account hanging, Instagram don’t do that. If you want to ‘save face’ for specific reasons by deleting your account and creating a new one from scratch, then do this:

In settings, go to the delete your account page. You will need to log in on the web, as you are unable to delete your account from the phone app. Select a reason and then re-enter your password for your profile. Only then will the permanently delete be available. Then select permanently delete and you’re done.

Disappeared into thin air. Poof!

Now all you need to do is to get cracking, start all over again while learning from the mistakes you made before.

Lucas Martley