Halloween turned out to be a nightmare for many creators as Instagram suspended accounts seemingly without reason, making both follower counts and engagement rates plummet. Many influencers rely on Instagram as a primary source of income and as the place to connect with their communities, but these outages make it challenging to trust the platform.
The fact is: this is more than just disconcerting for creators – it’s bad for business. Audience figures plummeting with no warning or reasoning could hinder them from sharing paid partnership content they are contractually bound to post. It could also impact future collaborations when campaign tracking systems will report plummeting engagement rates and followings.
Emilie McMeekan, a creator and journalist who is co-founder of The Midult and co-host of podcast I’m Absolutely Fine, revealed her account dropped by 500 followers instantly. She said: “Obviously it’s unnerving and makes the whole business feel precarious, but it’s also a reminder that our platform has always been about connection rather than counting followers.”
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She wasn’t the only influencer who saw her following plunge. Former Love Islander Chloe Burrows shared her Instagram audience dropped by 20,000, while BBC Radio 1Xtra host Nadia Jae lost 1,500 followers, only to then share it had gone up by 2,000 later the same day.
Beauty creator Ola Awosika posted a comedic clip about the devastation influencers felt when their followings decreased, while lifestyle vlogger Klaudia Kedziora published a similar take on creators’ stress. Instagram users expressed their dismay on Twitter to the extent that #InstagramDown was trending throughout the day.
Glitches like this aren’t an uncommon occurrence for parent company, Meta. Only last week WhatsApp experienced a multi-hour outage which left its users frustrated, and Instagram had similar problems earlier this year.
Instagram said in a statement that the bug “was causing people in different parts of the world to have issues accessing their accounts and caused a temporary change for some in number of followers. Sorry!”.
The key learning for creators in all of this is they need to diversify their revenue streams and focus on storytelling across several platforms. Instagram is still the most commercially desired platform when it comes to influencer partnerships, but issues like this reiterate how important it is to have a robust multi-channel strategy. As for Instagram, it must realise creators are the lifeblood of the platform and communicating with them is crucial. Nobody enjoys Instagram going down – but the impact of this on influencers’ businesses should not be underestimated.
By Dina Zubi, news and features writer for CORQ.