Major brands are currently losing hundreds of thousands of followers on popular photo-sharing site Pinterest, following a newly launched initiative to crack down on spam accounts.
Brands such as Harper's Bazaar and Nordstrom have lost Pinterest followers in a matter of hours. In fact, Harper's Bazaar which had 4.9 million followers this morning, according to Zoomsphere data now only has 4.7 million. Meanwhile, Nordstrom lost about 600,000, dropping its count from 3.6 million to 3 million.
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The picture below highlights those changes the top images are from Friday morning and the bottom images are from hours later.
Non-brands on Pinterest also took a hit. User Joy Cho has lost about 2 million followers so far, down from 12 million to 10 million.
The news comes one day after Pinterest announced an effort to detect, remove and prevent spam, which has been growing along with the site's popularity.
The Pinterest spokesperson said losing such a high number of followers is uncommon among regular Pinterest accounts.
"That magnitude of change is rare, but there were definitely cases like that," the spokesperson said.
"We understand this might be jarring for some people, which is why we were proactive and emailed account holders who would have a big number change before we actually removed the accounts. We told them how much their follower account would change, explained what was happening and offered to answer questions."
Pinterest noticed a trend that some pins directed users to sites such as ones that sell weight loss pills instead of to the page where the photo originated. To weed through the clutter, Pinterest developed an intelligent algorithm that flags potential spam accounts via a scoring system.
For example, each account is given a score -- let's say between 1 and 100 and the site disables those with higher numbers. For accounts in the medium-score range, Pinterest still gives them the same rights and privileges as non-offenders but suppresses their search rankings, so those pins don't show up high in search.
"Overall, we hope people understand that they still have the exact same number of legitimate followers," Pinterest said. "We expect that number to continue to rise. What we've done today is tried to make the system more valuable, reliable and authentic for the long term."