Removed 2.5k ghost followers, likes have halved

Hey all,

On my personal account with 12k followers and around 6-7% ER, I decided to purge some ghost followers, those that have never engaged and were following over 4k accounts.

3 weeks ago I removed 1600, this was spread over two days - afterwards I saw a significant improvement in hashtag reach and likes almost doubled, this was consistent across my next 7 posts.
The week after, I removed an additional 300 - no noticeable difference in engagement or reach was observed.
Last week I removed a further 540 - but now my likes have halved and hashtag reach has dropped by 65%

I have since read that once IG sees your account is losing followers, you will hit a downward engagement spiral and that best practice is to remove less followers than what you gain daily.

When I check insights, my audience is in negative growth by -200 (this figure gets smaller daily as I havent purged any more followers and I gain around 50 a day).

My question is, is my account likely to recover once my following is back in positive growth - if so, how long until I am in positive figures will I likely see an improvement?

Many thanks!


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Just post as usual and your account should recover in 2-3 weeks.

Also, the algorithm is acting crazy sometimes. The only thing you can do against it, is to wait it out.


What is your definition of “ghost followers”?


Those that have never liked or commented on a single post and are following over 4k accounts - they are never likely to see my posts and are clearly not interested in my content.

Have you actually kept track of your likes / comments from post 1?

Following over X has nothing to do with being a ghost or not.

I’m asking all of this to dig deeper into why some of your “ghosts” lead to an increase and some to a decrease.


Yes, I scraped every single liker and commenter from every post I have made.

I removed those that have never liked or commented on any of my posts and are mass followers.

Seemed like a sensible strategy to me.

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I had to ask as typically people go back X days or posts which leads to cutting some valuable followers.

You seem to have done it the “correct” way so just keep posting good content and things should work out after IG adjusts to the new world order of your account.


Thank you! I suppose it wasn’t technically the “correct” way if you were to go on advice shared here - in hindsight I should have done it gradually, removing say 40 a day - that way my following gains would have balanced things out better and my account wouldn’t be flagged for negative growth?

Just as long as no permanent damage is done, I can live with a drop in likes for a few weeks.

There is no flag per se for “negative growth”.

IG has all the background info on your account so killing ghosts should not be considered damaging, at least in the long run.

I’ve done both the mass purge and the gradual one. Both lead to the same result, it is just a matter of patience. One is the patience to take forever to clean them out at 40 - 50 a day, the other is the patience to recover after the mass dump.

Either way, you should be fine. Just don’t do anything else major and keep on the content.


Did a similar purge for my personal account when it hit 10k. Was only getting about 5-10% ER, manually scraped in the same manner as OP (became quite good at excel as a side effect lol). Removed a few hundred ghosts each day to get to about 5k.

Noticed a drop in ER for the first two weeks and remember slightly panicking around the third week…but it probably was because I was still manually scraping posts and doing historical comparisons. Took about a month to get to pre-purge ER and then it went up from there. In the meantime was continuing to post and F/UF (with much better sources than what I had used to get to 10k).

Now at 40k getting 15% ER. Looking back, glad I did the purge when the account was still ‘small.’ Bottom line, ER will recover :grinning:


Thank you, very helpful! Was it about a month after your first purge or after your final purge that it recovered?

Final. Actually posted less during the purge. At 5k started posting normally and tracking ER again.

I did the same thing, 10k to 2.5k and the reuslts were bad. Real low engagement. Hoping for a strong comeback!

that was decent er to begin with. Did not need to purge.-- lesson learned I hope, account is still good . Post as you are doing – it will come back up.
When? hard to guess honestly.

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How long has it been since you did the purge?

I have seen guys purge 4k from a 5k account and they came back very strong indeed - over 50% ER

Hi, how can you remove Ghost followers?
Do you use Jarvee or something like that?

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Yes, using Jarvee

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The tool ‘block followers’ in Jarvee

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Actually, one thing I do before removing ghost followers, is loading that list of ghost followers into the like module and liking one or two of their latest pics. I wait a week after that then remove the ones who still do not like/comment on a post

I coudn’t see that bringing them back to life in my case, when I checked around 100 of the profiles I got rid of they all appeared to be mass followers wanting a follow back