From Kylie to Kim, from Cristiano to Ariana, these are the most followed Instagram accounts by the app’s “roughly one billion” monthly active users.

As we embrace a new year,  we take this opportunity to reflect back on the truly important things that occurred over the past year. We’re talking about memories shared with friends and family. Time spent doing what we love. And, naturally, who gained the most followers on Instagram. The answer? The app, of course, as well as a crew of usual suspects.

Instagram has made addicts of us all since the moment it launched as a photo-sharing app back in 2010. Throughout the decade since, that app has evolved into many things: a place to keep up with the lives of old friends (or new lovers); a portfolio for the creative industry; a front line for battles over social justice; an online marketplace; a place to convince you why NFTs aren’t something you can just right-click, actually; and ultimately, a mirror into what we care about — whether we admit or not — carefully vetted and fed back to us by the all-seeing Algorithm™.

Here at the close of 2021, we’ve rounded up the top 10 most-followed Instagram accounts in the world — the ones that seemingly keep us logging in and coming back for more. 

The most followed Instagram accounts in the world, as of December 2021:

1. Instagram (@instagram)

Followers: 436 million

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A post shared by Instagram (@instagram)

For whatever reason, Instagram’s official account is the most-followed on the entire platform, boasting a total of 450 million followers at press time. Of its nearly 7,000 posts, the most recent feature a variety of the platform’s popular, creative or what it deems attention-worthy creators, such as actress Rachel Zegler, Insta-famous mini-pig Pua or Lisa of BLACKPINK herself.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)

Followers: 378 million

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A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)

Here’s a guy who had quite the year, didn’t he? Since making his grand comeback to Manchester United, Ronaldo’s star (and following) have both continued to rise. The first individual to reach 200 million followers on the platform, he should be crossing that 400 million mark by early 2022.

3. Lionel Messi (@leomessi)

Followers: 290.8 million

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A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

As one of Ronaldo’s biggest rivals in the football would, it only makes sense we’d see him as one of CR7’s biggest on the ‘Gram, as well. Another entry in football’s G.O.A.T. conversation, the Argentine forward has proven himself equally adept at the social media game, just edging out Kylie Jenner from the #3 spot at year’s end — and continuing that climb quickly.

4. Kylie Jenner (@kyliejenner)

Followers: 290.6 million

kylie jenner on Instagram

Despite just falling behind Leo Messi in the most followed category, things are still going plenty well for the woman behind Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Skin, Kylie Swim, Kylie Baby and more. She’s also still the most-followed woman in the world, so don’t get too comfortable, boys. The race to 500 million is on.

5. Ariana Grande (@arianagrande)

Followers: 282.9 million

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A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande)

After just surpassing The Rock himself, the Grammy-winning singer and coach on The Voice has had an eventful few years that have kept people following. Grande became the most followed musician on the platform in 2019, and with a feed filled with teasers of what’s to come (and the occasional look back at what got her there), she doesn’t appear to be giving up that title any time soon.

6. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (@therock)

Followers: 282.2 million

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A post shared by therock (@therock)

The People’s Champ. Hollywood movie star and tequila mogul. Future presidential candidate? Never count out The Rock, who has built his ever-increasing following with a candid look inside his life and an endless supply of workout and lifestyle motivation.

7. Selena Gomez (@selenagomez)

Followers: 281 million

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A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez)

Selena Gomez has been in the spotlight her entire life, and social media era has been no exception. In addition to magazine shoots, plandids and candids, Gomez uses her platform to talk about mental health, citing her own ups and downs and encouraging followers to educate themselves on the importance of mental fitness. She’s also racing up quickly behind that #6 spot, so — watch out, Ari!

8. Kim Kardashian (@kimkardashian)

Followers: 209 million

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A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian)

One of the most famous faces in the world, it’s no surprise to see Kim Kardashian in the top ten. While Keeping Up with the Kardashians may have said farewell after 20 seasons, Kim continues to stay in the headlines, with no sign of slowing down. And with a new Kardashian-Jenner Hulu show in the works, it likely won’t be long until she’s back on our screens once again.

9. Beyoncé Knowles (@beyonce)

Followers: 225 million

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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce)

Queen Bey! There will only ever be one Beyoncé. The singer-actress-songwriter-producer-dancer-businesswoman-director-and-more changed the way artists release albums forever with Lemonade, and has found a way to toe the line between larger-than-life superstardom while still giving us the occasional intimate glimpse into her and husband Jay-Z’s world through social media.

10. Justin Bieber (@justinbieber)

Followers: 209 million

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A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber)

The original social media superstar, Justin Bieber, came into our lives through YouTube, and he’s remained a part of it ever since. And “Baby“, it’s worth noting, remains a bop. Did you really read through this whole thing? You deserve a tune. Enjoy!

Hero and featured image: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.

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