Instagram has today left several of its users devastated after it mass deleted at least 30 meme accounts, totaling over 33 million followers.
With no warning, users that were running large and popular meme accounts checked their email to find a message from Instagram telling them that their account had been suspended from the platform.
Instagram told the users that the reason for the suspension was for “not following our terms”.
The notice stated, “We’re unable to restore accounts that are suspended for this reason,” meaning that account owners have lost touch with their millions of followers and have no way to appeal to the social media giant to get their pages and livelihoods back.
A teenager named Caige, whose account @autist with over half a million followers, was suspended in the purge, said that he had already earned more than $30,000 this year from his page and he was using the money to save for college.
Today, his page and his income source is gone.
Users took to Twitter to express their frustration with the situation:
this is the endgame. 40m+ followers and over $600k+ in accounts lost in two days. @instagram @facebook fucking own up to what you did and rollback, you can’t stay silent in this. peronally lost 600k+ followers for no good reason. #reactivatespicy #memepurge pic.twitter.com/xpgy8KrH2d
— IG: oc.spicy (@spicymp4) July 27, 2019
Some of the accounts that were disabled as part of this purge include:
- @Finest.Inventions: 13M+ followers
- @uniquevines: 8.3M+ followers
- @laugh.s: 3M+ followers
- @medicalthing: 2.6M+ followers
- @meccha.memes: 2.1M+ followers
- @teacherpranks: c2M followers
- @thespedshed: 704K+ followers
- @babebuddy: 684K+ followers
- @darted: 578K+ followers
- @autist: 529K+ followers
- @femalesdoingthings: 474K+ followers
- @spicy.mp4: 472K+ followers
- @wokeist: 420K+ followers
- @godsbleach: 396K+ followers
- @dailymemes.exe: 315K+ followers
- @hexxthegon: 300K+ followers
- @zuwamba: 273K+ followers
- @sourpods: 255K+ followers
- @deepfriedlays: 194K+ followers
- @silentmemes: 168K+ followers
- @suucle: 115K+ followers
- @yerdank: 105K+ followers
- @deadv1: 96K+ followers
- @meme_hummus: 89K+ followers
- @hexxthegon.v2 87K+ followers
- @nutted: 53K+ followers
- @yore: 12K+ followers
- @sup.david: 10K+ followers
- The shock humor of some of the memes posted to these pages may have violated Facebook’s “objectionable content” rules.
- Some of the meme accounts being bought and sold which is against Instagram’s terms of service.
- Some of the content in the memes being used without people’s permission.
- Some of the meme accounts violating Instagram policy by selling verification services, retrieving de-activated user names, and restoring banned accounts through a private program that is meant to be only available to the media.
Instagram is one of the most popular places online for memes and funny content, and running a meme account can result in a substantial income from selling merchandise and creating sponsored posts.
Last Christmas, during a previous Instagram meme-page purge, seventeen-year-old Declan Mortimer said that his Instagram account was earning him up to $200,000 per year through sponsored posts and advertising on the account. On Christmas Day last year, Mortimer checked his account, that totaled over 11 million followers, and found that it had been suspended by Instagram.
In recent months, the data collection image sharing platform, has been cracking down on many popular accounts and suspending them for a variety of reasons – often for so-called “hate speech.”
However, popular cosplayer Belle Delphine was recently banned from Instagram after a mass-flagging campaign. Delphine had over 4.5 million followers, showing that Instagram isn't afraid to reach for the ban-hammer for even its most popular users of the platform – preventing millions of people from accessing their favorite content at the press of a button.
Increasingly becoming hostile to users, Instagram also recently outlined plans to restrict users for what it calls “borderline” content (content which doesn’t specifically violate the platform’s rules but that Instagram doesn’t like).
In Instagram's own words: “While some posts on Instagram may not go against our Community Guidelines, they might not be appropriate for our global community, and we'll limit those types of posts.”
Instagram also recently implemented a new practice that asks users to consider if they really want to post a message – encouraging them to change their mind. Instagram said “the platform would notice” that its user is “about to leave a negative comment” – warn them about the error of their ways, and encourage them to reconsider. The feature seems correctional in nature, as the comments won't be blocked.