UPDATE: Following on from its purge of a reported 142 high-profile meme accounts — and the backlash that came with it — Instagram is planning to hire for a “meme liaison” officer. The position would include working as a “strategic-partnerships manager” working with both meme accounts and “digital publishers.” According to Instagram, the employee would “identify important new formats and trends while also serving memers already on the platform.”
Speaking to The Atlantic, Lila King, head of news and publishing partnerships at Instagram, explained, “We’ve seen, through the course of our work with publishers and creators, that the meme community has become really influential. Memes are a format that you’re starting to see traditional media companies adopt more and more… We think if we can get to know and understand [the meme community] there is a lot to learn that can influenced the more traditional media companies.” According to King, the candidate will ideally be “equally fluent in the language of memes and the business of digital publishing.”
ORIGINAL STORY, (July 31, 2019): Instagram has just conducted its own version of the purge, but with a very specific group of victims in mind — meme accounts.
Just last week, The Daily Dot reported that at least 30 high-profile meme accounts were taken down by the giant social media platform, reportedly for violating Instagram’s terms and services.
Among the affected was a user under the account name @memeextraordinaire, whose page had built a 40 million follower fan-base and earned him more than $600,000 USD. Craig, an 18-year-old Instagram user, also revealed that his account @autist, a page that earned him more than $30,000 USD this year alone, had also been taken down. He was planning on using those funds for college.
A Facebook spokesperson has since released a statement to The Daily Dot justifying its purge, explaining that “These accounts were disabled following multiple violations of our policies, including attempted abuse of our internal processes.” As some other users on Twitter point out, many of the memes on those high-profile pages were taken from Reddit or other meme sites without permission, so Instagram’s decision to remove their accounts appear justified to them.
The Atlantic staff writer Taylor Lorenz has compiled a list of all the meme pages deleted by Instagram during the purge, which you can see in her Tweet linked below.
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why is instagram purging all the meme accounts. we deserve to exist too.
— nope (@LilNasX) July 29, 2019
Most of the accounts stole memes from Reddit and the memes were being used without the people’s permission so you guys kinda broke a rule
— Sturext (@Sturext8) July 27, 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