How to Get Rid of Your Fake Followers

You bought fake followers in the past but are looking to clean up your account. Now what? Given the current digital culture and the movement to actively clean up and combat the slew of online bots, we agree that this is a smart decision for you as an online content creator—just check out our post on Why You Shouldn’t Buy Followers. Years ago purchasing followers was a legitimate way for brands to seem more reliable and creators to gain traction on social. But as influencer marketing continues to prove itself effective in the industry, marketers are wising up that fake followers don’t add value and deter from the authenticity brands and readers love. Truth be told, even if you’ve never purchased followers on your social accounts you could still have accumulated ghost, fake, and bot followers, so it might be worth taking the time to give your profiles a cleaning up. So how do you get rid of the skeletons in your social closet—purchased or “ghost” followers? Let’s dive into the different options…


Thankfully, the followers you purchased over the years are nothing like that tattoo you got in college—they're not permanent. 


Although we know that there are a lot of third-party apps out there that can help you discover and block fake accounts from following your profile, third-party applications are actually against Instagram’s terms of service and therefore not a wise course of action. So, although it is more time consuming, we recommend a more manual approach to removing fake followers from your accounts.

There are ways to detect which accounts that may be following you on Instagram or Twitter are fake.
Be on the lookout for:

  • Accounts with 0 followers and 0 posts

  • Odd follower to following ratios (ex: Following 30K, Followers 9)

  • Default profile picture or no profile picture

  • Profile names that includes random numbers or "spammy" usernames

  • Location — you know your audience best, but if you have multiple “followers” from around the world that speak a different language they may be worth investigating further

Once you've determined if the profile is fake, you can block them—which forces them to unfollow your account. Many sources site an ABC method. Meaning you look through your followers in segmented sections of the alphabet. Depending on follower count you can sort through a couple letters a day. Yeah, it's a little monotonous but if you're looking to truly clean your account, patience is key. Ultimately, it is worth your time since brands can now spot influencers who have purchased followers through growth anomalies utilizing third-party social profile checkers…and ultimately may choose not to work with you due to the sheer number of fake followers in your audience.

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Kelly Killips