Instagram is testing a way for public users to remove their followers. At the moment, the only way to control your following, and therefore who views your profile, photos, and stories, is to make your account private. But public accounts, such as brands, celebrities, and those who just aren’t so fussy about their page being on view to the world, don’t have the same luxury.
It’s understood that if your account is public, there is no way to stop anyone and everyone from viewing your page. If you’re that bothered, you’re probably already on the private setting. But don’t public users still deserve the right to control their followers? After all, public personas still have one or two people they’d rather not have stalking their Insta (looking at you, parents and exes!).
So what does this mean?
For individuals, this feature will offers public users the chance to monitor their following, and ensure that they can stop specific users seeing their updates in their newsfeed, without blocking, muting, or switching to a private account. So if Brand X has been trolled by Brand Y, rather than actively blocking them and potentially damaging their brand reputation, Brand X can make sure their future content isn’t on Brand Y’s newsfeed – and therefore open to more trolling – by removing Brand Y from their follower list.
The photography platform has already rolled out a ‘mute’ button that allows users to continue following an account without ever receiving its updates on their newsfeed, with eradicates the potential awkwardness of unfollowing them.
Another option is the block feature, but this can be viewed as aggressive as the blocked user will know that you’ve barred them from your page. Also, blocking is a two-way street: when you block someone, you can no longer their profile either – a clear disadvantage for the nosier Instagram user!
For businesses, the ability to remove followers will open up a world of benefits. For a start, it gives brands control over their audience to guarantee their content reaches those with a genuine interest, leading to more relevant engagement and reach. It will also give companies the ability to remove automated followers, trolls, and abusers with the touch of a button. No need to wait for social media channels to have annual clearouts of dead accounts and bots! Removing unwanted followers allows for increased control over a brand’s reputation, competition, and values.
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