I have been getting a lot of emails and comments here on the blog from people who are frustrated because they can’t follow more people. The team at Instagram decided to institute a limit to the number of people an account can follow to 7,500. Here is the exact wording of the explanation from Instagram:
“In order to reduce unwanted spam, Instagram has recently placed a cap on the number of people that any account can follow at 7,500. This helps ensure that users do not violate our Community Guidelines.
This change affects accounts that currently have less than 7,500 followers.
Thanks for your support and understanding!”
The first time I read this information, which can be found here, I thought that the rule meant you were limited to following 7,500 people until you got 7,500 followers yourself, then the limit would be lifted. Seems logical to me since I assumed the rule was to prevent obvious “follow seekers” from taking the time honored shortcut that SPAM marketers do – cast an enormously huge net and you’ll eventually snag a few
lemmings people who are interested in your product. However, after hearing from people that even after reaching 7,500 followers themselves, they still cannot follow more accounts I went back and reread the wording carefully and I now believe that the way the rule works is this:
If you had fewer than 7,500 followers when Instagram instituted the follow limit rule, you will never be able to follow more than 7,500 people.
Wow, that doesn’t seem very fair to me. In essence they are socking it to the new folks yet again. If you have been around a while, and have managed to get a large following of more than 7,500, then you can continue on your merry way of the SPAMMERS and follow as many accounts as your heart desires. But, if you are new to the picture then you now have shackles on that will completely limit your ability to compete in the follow-for-follow game.
Now I personally hate the follow-for-follow tactic. I think if you are going to follow someone it ought to be because you enjoy their photos, or at least their Instagram personality. I think follow-for-follow ultimately just leaves you with a mess of an incoming feed, and a ton of zombie followers who never like or comment on anything you post. I would much rather have a small community of people who interact with each other positively, share common interests, and are on Instagram to support each other. The carrot of the Popular Page has driven truly bad behavior on Instagram. But rather than change the way the Popular Page works (give the talented little guy a chance why don’t you Instagram!?) the team at Instagram has started shackling their new users to treat the symptoms and yet ignore the problem.