At least 30 meme pages, surpassing a combined 33 million followers, were removed for violating Instagram’s terms of service.
Update 3:20pm CT, July 27: Among the violations were the alleged selling and purchasing of usernames, as well as alleged attempts to fraudulently obtain others’ usernames.
“These accounts were disabled following multiple violations of our policies, including attempted abuse of our internal processes,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Daily Dot in an email statement.
One user, who ran multiple popular meme accounts, provided Twitter with the notices they received when attempting to access their pages.
“Your account has been deleted for not following our terms,” the message read. “You won’t be able to log into this account and no one else will be able to see it.”
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
— Ben (@spicymp4) July 27, 2019
The user added that they amassed 40 million followers and raked in over $600,000 from the now-deleted accounts. In fact, many of the pages garnered their owners tens of thousands of dollars every year through advertising and sponsored posts, as noted by Reclaim The Net.
Another user, an 18-year-old referred to as Craig on Twitter, claims that they earned more than $30,000 from just one page, dubbed @autist, this year and was using the revenue to save up for college, according to a local Fox affiliate.
@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
Some of the more prominent pages affected by the mass-deletion include @Finest.Inventions, a meme page with over 13 million followers, and @uniquevines, which had more than 8.3 million followers.
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
Many speculated that the purge was linked to the company’s “objectionable content” rules. Many on Twitter also speculated that the pages were deleted for stealing and posting memes without permission from the creators.
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
Removing high-profile pages is nothing new for Instagram, though. Belle Delphine–the gamer girl with 4.5 million followers who recently made headlines for selling jars of her bathwater–was from the platform in July, following a mass reporting campaign.
The purge also comes as Instagram expanded its test of hiding likes to several countries. That test, which could one day become standard worldwide, has outraged influencers on Instagram who say the move has made it more difficult to make a living on the platform.
Now it seems that big meme accounts are trying to suck up to Instagram to avoid deletion. For example, @godsbleach changed its bio, now reading, “I LOVE INSTAGRAM @instagram I LOVE YOUR APP ITS AMAZING.”
The flattery may be working, because @godsbleach’s page is currently still on Instagram.
This post has been updated to include an official statement from Instagram.
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H/T Reclaim The Net