Instagram: 0 Posts & 0 Followers & 0 Following?

Here’s what it means when someone’s Instagram says 0 for posts, followers, and following:

This could mean a few different things.

The most obvious is that the user has never posted, followed anyone, or been followed by anyone.

It’s also possible that the user’s account is suspended or otherwise disabled.

Sometimes, this shows up because of Instagram errors and doesn’t mean anything.

So if you want to learn all about what it means when an Instagram account shows all zeros, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s jump right in!

Instagram: 0 Posts & 0 Followers & 0 Following? (All Info)

What Is Instagram?

Most of you reading this probably have at least some familiarity with Instagram, but for the holdouts among you, here’s a quick overview.

Instagram is one of many social media companies, and in terms of users and proliferation, it is the fourth largest. 

More than 1.4 billion people have an Instagram account.

When you consider that Instagram doesn’t allow users under the age of 13 and is completely banned in China, that’s quite an impressive number.

Instagram was originally built on the concept of making it extremely easy to take, edit, and share photos.

While the modern version of the platform allows for a lot more than that, it’s still centered on the photograph-sharing concept.

It’s also worth noting that Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012.

Even though the parent company keeps the two social media platforms separate, Instagram is ultimately controlled by Meta (the current name of the parent company for both Facebook and Instagram, among other things).

What Are Instagram Posts?

As a social media platform, Instagram allows users to make posts when signed into their accounts.

These posts can include text, photos, or videos, and photos and videos are the most common options on the platform.

Whenever you make a post, other users can see the content.

This includes the photo or video that you upload along with any text you include (such as a caption for a photo).

Typically, a post is publicly available to other users, but you can adjust your privacy settings to limit who can see your posts.

Generally speaking, any friends you have on the account will be able to see whatever you post.

Instagram also keeps track of posts.

So, every time you create a new post, the platform counts that activity, and it keeps a running tally of your number of posts on your profile.

So, if friends or other users browse your profile, they can see how many posts you have made.

If you delete an old post, this will decrease your post count by one.

So, Instagram is really only counting the number of posts that you currently have available on the platform.

What Are Instagram Followers?

Once again, this is going to mirror other social media experiences. 

Once you create an account, you can find other users, and you can follow them.

If you do, then whenever they create a post, it will show up on your main feed.

So, following someone is a good way to keep up with content from a specific Instagram user.

People can also follow you, and that’s what this is really talking about. 

As I said before, Instagram likes to keep a bunch of statistics.

One of those statistics is your follower count.

When people follow you, Instagram will tally that, and this number is also displayed on your profile.

For anyone trying to use Instagram for business purposes (such as being a social media influencer), having a high follower count is very important.

It’s essentially a simple number that shows you the range of your outreach.

So, a lot of users pay close attention to this number.

Followers vs Friends

If you have used other social media apps, you may have seen that you can follow someone or be their friend.

Instagram simplifies this process.

There is no “friend” option on Instagram.

There are only followers.

Colloquially, a lot of people would say that a friendship on Instagram is when two users mutually follow each other, as opposed to a one-sided situation where you follow someone and they don’t follow you back.

Also, with Instagram, you get to approve or deny follow requests.

So, if someone wants to follow you but you’re not into it, you can simply deny the request.

Likewise, people can deny your follow requests as they see fit.

What Does “Following” Mean in Instagram?

Now that you know what followers are, we can get into another technical distinction.

On your profile, there are three important numbers that are readily visible: posts, followers, following.

Those last two look pretty similar, but they’re providing very different information.

The number of followers refers to how many Instagram users are following your profile.

It’s pretty simple.

The “following” number is referring to how many users your account follows.

So, when someone else hits the “follow” button on your account, your follower count goes up.

When you hit the “follow” button, then your following count goes up.

That’s really all you need to know here.

In all other respects, followers and following are referring to the same mechanism within the Instagram platform.

The only question is whether you are following someone or they are following you.

What Does It Mean to Have 0 for Any of These in Instagram? (3 Categories)

Now that you’ve read the word “follow” way too many times, let’s revisit the original question.

What does it mean when these numbers are 0?

Well, it depends on a few different things.

Each individual number can be 0, and that will tell you something.

It’s also possible for all three to be 0.

That’s a different specific scenario, and I’ll cover it at length a little later.

First, let’s break it down into individual components.

On that note, any time one of these numbers is 0, it could mean that the user hasn’t done the thing.

As an example, if your account shows 0 for following, it might mean that you have never hit the follow button on your account.

Likewise, a 0 for the other metrics could mean that you have never posted on Instagram or that you have no one following you.

There are also other possible reasons for 0s on these numbers, and that’s what I really want to get into.

#1 Posts

The alternative reason why an account might show that it has 0 posts has to do with privacy settings. 

On Instagram, you can have a private or public account.

If you have a public account, then people can follow you if they want, and you don’t get to control who follows you.

With a private account, you can set it up so that people send follow requests, and you can choose who can and cannot see your posts.

So, there’s a situation where you might see a user with 0 posts.

Then, you follow them, and suddenly they have a bunch of posts.

This is a result of the privacy settings.

Basically, Instagram is telling you how many posts they have made that you can see.

If you’re not allowed to see their posts, it will show a 0.

If you are allowed to see their posts, it will show the correct number.


When it comes to showing 0 followers, this is also related to privacy settings, but it’s a little less straightforward.

In the most common example, a person might use Instagram as a bit of a cloud server to save photos, but they might not actually want to use the platform to share any of those photos.

So, a person might make their account private and not allow people to follow them.

Technically, this 0 is accurate because they don’t have any followers, but it’s deliberate on their part.

It’s not just a random account that can’t get anyone to follow it.

Following an account like this is functionally impossible.

#3 Following

As for the following number, there is a clear alternative scenario where this will show a 0 when it isn’t exactly right.

If an account is suspended or otherwise facing disciplinary action, then you might see 0 in the following category.

This can persist until the account is restored to a regular-use state.

Instagram gets to set the rules on how suspensions, bans, and other actions work, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

But, suspended accounts have been known to show 0 in the following category until the suspension is completed.

After that, the number usually reverts back.

Keep in mind that this is because you’re not allowed to use a suspended account.

So, while the account is inaccessible, the people who were followed can no longer reach that account.

Effectively, a suspended account isn’t following anyone until it is restored.

What Does It Mean When an Instagram Account Shows 0 Posts, 0 Followers, and 0 Following? (5 Scenarios)

We’re making good progress.

That now covers all of the individual 0s you might see on an account.

We’re finally ready to get to the very first question.

What does it mean when all three numbers are 0?

In that case, it’s not just a simple privacy setting.

For all three to be 0 suggests one of three things: 

  • The account has no activity
  • The account is hiding activity
  • There is a mistake

While those are the three possibilities, the implications behind them are potentially more complicated.

Really, there are five scenarios that we need to discuss, and each can be related to seeing all of those 0s.

#1 New Account

This is the easiest thing to understand.

If an account is brand new, then there will be no posts, follows, or followers.

Clearly, you can’t have numbers in those columns until you actually use the account, so there’s not much to see here.

If you happen to know that an account is new, then these numbers only mean that the person hasn’t taken the time to actually use the account yet.

But, if you know that the person has been using Instagram, then these 0s suggest something else.

It’s very likely that the account was remade by an experienced user.

There are a few reasons this could happen, but a common one is that the previous account was banned.

If your account is banned, there are ways to make a new account and start using the platform all over again.

Triple 0s can be a red flag that someone has been banned before.

#2 Spam Account

One of the most common reasons that you will see an account banned and remade is because of spam.

If you’ve used the internet, then you have surely been spammed by something before, but I’ll explain the idea all the same.

A spam account is usually trying to advertise something or compel behavior from other users.

Let’s talk about advertising since it’s such a simple example.

Let’s say a new business is opening up, and they want to use Instagram to get the word out.

They can follow a bunch of users to try to drive up engagement and get people to know about the new business.

That’s fine, as long as it is done in a way that doesn’t annoy people.

Some companies will simply use bots for this purpose, and the bots might not be very sophisticated.

So, the bots might just send follow requests over and over again or send repetitive messages to try to get attention.

If users report the account, it might get banned for spamming too many users.

For companies that don’t care if they’re being annoying, they might simply remake the account and start all over.

In most cases, spam accounts are used to promote things that might be a little shady, so when you see all 0s and think it’s from spamming, it’s probably best to stay away from that account.

#3 Malicious Account

I mentioned earlier that you might see 0s because the numbers are being hidden from you.

While some of this can be legitimate, like seeing 0 posts on an account you aren’t following, it’s not always legitimate.

A malicious account might use spam or other tactics to get you to download software that compromises your device.

People do this to hack devices, steal banking information, steal data, or do any number of other unpleasant things.

Regardless of all of that, a malicious user would have good reasons to try to hide that bad activity, and they might use third-party software to manipulate Instagram and hide how they are interacting with other users.

These things are not easily done, but they’re also not impossible.

So, seeing all 0s, especially if you’ve been contacted by the user in any way, is often a sign of malicious activity.

Generally speaking, using Instagram will generate numbers on the profile.

If someone is clearly using the platform and not generating numbers, it’s a red flag.

#4 Mistake

Unfortunately, the triple 0 isn’t always a red flag.

It’s entirely possible that you will see this on an account that has done nothing wrong and has no intention of ever doing anything wrong.

Instagram is ultimately very complicated software, and complicated software sometimes messes things up.

Sometimes, you will see all 0s because Instagram made a mistake, and it’s really nothing more than that.

Of course, the challenge is that you don’t really know if the situation is from a mistake or not.

So, if you want to err on the side of caution, avoid triple 0 accounts unless it’s an account from someone you personally know.

#5 Deleted Account

The very last possibility is the easiest of all.

People delete Instagram accounts.

When they do, their posts are all deleted too.

Also, a deleted account cannot follow users or be followed, so all three numbers drop to 0.

Instagram doesn’t necessarily remove deleted accounts right away, for a number of reasons.

But, if you see all 0s, it’s easy to tell if the account is deleted.

You won’t be able to interact with it.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.