December 19, 2014 9:18 am
Updated: December 19, 2014 9:35 am

Bieber loses 3.5 million followers as Instagram deletes bogus accounts

Justin Bieber

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TORONTO — A crackdown on fake Instagram accounts has cost Justin Bieber about 15 per cent of his followers.

The Canadian pop star lost 3.5 million Instagram followers virtually overnight after the social media company purged phony accounts.

With just over 20 million followers, Bieber is now the third-most-followed person on Instagram, behind Kim Kardashian (22.2 million) and Beyonce (21.4 million).

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Kardashian lost 1.3 million followers in the purge.

Bieber’s ex-girlfriend, singer Selena Gomez, suffered a smaller loss — only 1.1 million and Ariana Grande lost 1.5 million followers.

The “Instagram Rapture” resulted in the deletion of about 30 per cent of total accounts.

The Facebook-owned company said it is removing spam accounts and those that violate its community guidelines.

“We want to maintain the best possible experience on Instagram, so we do our best to remove spam, fake accounts and other people and posts that don’t follow our Community Guidelines,” read a message posted online by Instagram last week.

“When we remove accounts from Instagram that don’t follow our Community Guidelines, you may see a decrease in your follower count. This shouldn’t affect engagement from authentic accounts that like and comment on your posts.”

Taylor Swift lost only 725,000 followers in the purge and her ex-boyfriend, One Direction singer Harry Styles, lost 800,000.

Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars and One Direction’s Niall Horan are among the stars who also lost more than 700,000 followers in the purge.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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