The owners of Instagram accounts with millions of followers got a nasty shock recently as the platform shut them down permanently, citing multiple violations of its policies.
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
According to reports on social media, Instagram has been after accounts posting memes. Many of them were hugely popular and boasted millions of followers.
Dozens of account owners with a combined follower base of over 30 million lost their pages overnight without warning or a chance to mend any mistakes they may have made. Moreover, they have no idea what transgressions led to Instagram’s crackdown on them.
The affected users can retrieve the content they posted on their pages, but the accounts have been removed permanently. It means they will not be able to restore them.
@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
Many owners of deactivated accounts are devastated because they earned money on the social media platform. An 18-year-old user named Caige said the money he made on Instagram helped him pay for college tuition. HIs account has earned him over $30,000 since the beginning of the year.
This is not the first time Instagram gets tough on meme posters. Several users report that their accounts were deactivated in December as part of a massive crackdown on meme pages. Declan Mortimer, 17, who has more than 11 million followers, said that he earned about $200,000 by posting sponsored content and ads on his Instagram account. However, his page was permanently deleted last Christmas.
Without going into many details, a Facebook spokesperson explained that disabled accounts had breached various platform policies.
It is worth noting that in July, Instagram updated its account removal policies.
“We are now rolling out a new policy where, in addition to removing accounts with a certain percentage of violating content, we will also remove accounts with a certain number of violations within a window of time,” the company said in its official statement.
The new policy implies that the platform should warn users if their accounts are at risk and give them an opportunity to appeal. However, the owners of the disabled meme accounts seem to have been deprived of the privilege.
The situation is a reminder that social media users do not have ownership rights to their pages. Instagram or any other platform can do whatever it deems right with the content posted on them, which may be ethically wrong but perfectly fine from a legal point of view.