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Instagram is cracking down on accounts that primarily post memes, deleting popular pages that have amassed millions of followers.
Dozens of accounts with over 30 million followers combined were deleted without warning. The removal is permanent, meaning there’s no hope for the users to get their accounts restored.
@instagram you just deleted all of my accounts for absolutely no reason, no warning, and no context behind this. (30 million+ followers worth of accounts deleted in 24 hours) #fuckinstagram #reactivateyerdank #reactivateautist pic.twitter.com/nJY6CvkQkW
— yerdank (@umCaige) July 26, 2019
HUGE meme page purge last night on insta. Accounts with millions of followers (one had more than 13M alone) got deleted. pic.twitter.com/Beugxh6bm4
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) July 26, 2019
Even rapper Lil Nas X has been bringing attention to the purge of Instagram meme accounts:
why is instagram purging all the meme accounts. we deserve to exist too.
— nope (@LilNasX) July 29, 2019
According to various news reports, one user was earning up to $30,000 a year through partnerships and using the money to pay for college.
A Facebook spokesperson tells reporters that the accounts were disabled following multiple violations of platform policies.
Earlier this month, Instagram updated its account removal policies. It can now remove accounts that have a certain number of violations within a window of time.
Based on the timing, it’s possible the account purge is related to Instagram’s latest policy change.
In any case, this whole situation illustrates the danger of building a business solely on social media. Those who were once thriving on Instagram are now having a rough go of it.
Organic post engagement is down, sponsored post engagement is down, and Instagram continues to expand its test of hiding like counts.
Now, Instagram is swiftly deleting popular accounts without giving them an opportunity to appeal the decision. And that’s perfectly fine, technically speaking, because Instagram can do what it wants with its own platform.
Unlike having a website, which is an owned property, people have no ownership of their social media pages. Instagram can throttle the reach of pages, suspend them, or delete them permanently.
It looks like uncertain times are ahead for people who rely on Instagram for a large part of their income.