What does it MEME? The impact of Instagram’s purge

Thought Leadership
Here, our Paid Media Manager in New York Wah-De Dennis discusses Instagram’s recent decision to purge over 30 meme accounts from its platform, without warning, and what this could mean for content creators on the platform in the future. 

What is the update?
Instagram had a massive meme-account purge over the last few days – deleting over 30 meme accounts, including some of the platform’s largest. As of right now, pages with a combined total of 40+ million followers were deleted without warning or explanation on Instagram’s behalf.

What does it mean?
Instagram asserts the accounts were deleted because they were in multiple violations of the platform’s policies. While they have yet to explicitly say what the violations were, there is speculation that the pages were deleted because of fraudulently obtaining usernames, selling and purchasing usernames, freebooting – stealing and reposting memes without the original creator’s consent, objectionable content, undisclosed influencer deals and/or as a pre-election purge.

As to be expected, it has been met with outrage from meme account page owners, some of whom have raked in over $30,000 for one page alone. While they share similar sentiments, it seems they are most angry with how Instagram went about deleting the accounts without warning or any explanation. As for the lucky, remaining meme major players, they’re holding onto their accounts for dear life while attempting to butter Instagram up with updated bios and captions proclaiming their love for Instagram.

All this to say Instagram is trying to put more of an emphasis on the importance of original content as well as ensure there’s no wrongful monetization occurring on their platform. It’s a less than friendly reminder for those running meme account to make sure the content on the page is original, politically neutral, and fall within Instagram’s guidelines.

The bottom-line is likely the underlying motivation, but the purge could result in a safer, space for content creators
While it’s almost certain the purge was largely inspired by meme accounts jeopardizing Facebook/Instagram’s revenue in one way or another – it is still a commendable step in enforcing the importance of content consent and encouraging creators to publish their content without the fear of it being stolen.

This blog was origionally published by We Are Social in New York