How to find and remove inactive followers on Instagram.

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

A quick and easy guide to finding and removing inactive followers from your Instagram account.


There is nothing more irritating than a ghost (inactive) follower. Before Instagrams big update this year they were harmless but now their presence in your follower's list can be extremely damaging to your engagement rates (another reason you should NEVER buy followers its a waste of time and money). Instagram will only show your post to all of your followers if it is deemed to be quality content, how do they figure out what content is quality and which isn't you ask? It's simple, they start by showing your post to just 10% of your followers, if these followers like and engage with the post then Instagram deem it to be good quality content and show it to more and more of your followers. If you have lots of ghost followers then the likely hood is that Instagram may show your post to the inactive followers so when they don't engage with the content it tanks and doesn't get seen by your REAL followers. Fortunately, Instagram has just added a ‘remove’ feature that makes the process of removing those pesky ghosts a lot quicker.


I've found that the easiest way of finding and removing the ghost followers is to start by typing 1 to 9 in the followers search bar and then A to Z, this way you can remember what letter or number you got to so you don't have to sit there and do it all in one sitting because depending on the number of followers you have it can take hours and who has time for that? Not me that's for sure.


So how do you know who to remove? I usually always click on any profiles that I deem to be even slightly suspicious so that I can check them out further and these are the things I look out for:

  • Foreign Countries - Most of the time fake accounts that companies use to provide people with followers are made in countries such as India, China, Turkey, and Brazil. Not only are accounts from these countries usually fake but they also drag down your audience country percentage which can be damaging for you if you're looking to work with brands so because of this I usually remove accounts from these countries immediately.

  • No profile picture - Any accounts that don't have a profile picture are almost always inactive so I don't even bother to click on their profile I just remove them straight away.

  • Men - Now this is going to sound a bit sexist and it really depends on what your niche and who your target audience is but most of my target audience is women so when I see a man following me I am automatically suspicious, sometimes its just a sweet dad that is actually interested in my content but most of the time its some creepy guy that has no business following me so I remove them.

  • Random Picture - By Random profile picture this I mean a cartoon character or scene from a movie etc, I often find these accounts end up being bots but not always so make sure you click on the profile to investigate further.

  • The number of posts - If a page has less than 50 posts its usually inactive. If the number of posts is the only thing making me think that then I usually check when they last posted to confirm my thoughts and if it was more than two months ago then I remove them.

  • The number of people they follow - If the person follows thousands of people it could mean they are a ghost, this is one that you have to pair with another sign tho. Usually, if the number of people they follow massively outweighs the number that follows them and they have very few posts they will be a fake account

Now obviously you can't sit there and check out every single account if you have thousands of followers so you can skip over any account that has the ‘story circle’ around their profile picture because they are active. If your a motherhood blogger like me you can generally skip over any account with a picture of a child in it too.

This method is not full proof and there will be the odd account here and there which slips through the cracks but you will be able to effectively remove the vast majority of them. Id love to know how you all get on so leave a comment below and share your results or if you if you have any questions I would be happy to answer them as best I can, happy ghost-busting!

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