The photo sharing site Instagram has decided to remove millions of profiles which were believed to be posting spam. The website's action, dubbed the 'Instagram rapture', has left a number of legitimate users disgruntled at their seeming lack of online popularity and the purge has seriously affected celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Akon.

Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian is now the second most followed Instagram user.

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Instagram explained their decision to axe the seemingly fake profiles in a statement on their blog. The social media site now has more than 300 million users, CEO Kevin Systrom explained in a statement. As a result the company is determined to ensure users are genuine and have permanently removed the spam accounts.

"We're committed to doing everything possible to keep Instagram free from the fake and spammy accounts that plague much of the web, and that's why we're finishing up some important work that began earlier this year," Systrom said in the statement.

"We've been deactivating spammy accounts from Instagram on an ongoing basis to improve your experience. As part of this effort, we will be deleting these accounts forever, so they will no longer be included in follower counts. This means that some of you will see a change in your follower count," the statement continued.

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Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber lost 3.5 million followers.

The rapture was carried out on Thursday (18th December) and the impact on some of the world's most followed Instagram celebrities has certainly been drastic. Incredibly Instagram's own profile was the worst hit, according to data compiled by developer Zach Allia, as it lost 18.8 million followers overnight (from 64.1 million to just fewer than 45.3 million). 

Justin Bieber, prior to the purge, appeared to have more Instagram followers than Kim Kardashian with 23.8 million to Kardashian's 23.5 million. However, Kardashian is now the second most popular account on Instagram, after Instagram itself, with 22.2 million followers. Bieber lost 3.5 million, bringing his total number of followers down to less than 20.3 million. Kardashian too lost followers with 1.3 million accounts removed from her grand total. 

Other celebrities who lost considerably numbers of followers include Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Kardashian's sister Kendall Jenner. Rapper Akon's account, according to the statistics, was the worst hit as he lost more than 56% of his followers.

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Akon lost more the 56% of his followers.