Instagram has cracked down and deleted several ‘meme’ accounts that had amassed large followings and were earning significant amounts of revenue via brand partnerships and advertising. The accounts deleted had a combined follower count of more than 30 million users.
In case you didn’t already know, ‘memes’ are those viral pictures and videos with humorous captions. They’re definitely hit and miss, however the virality of them has been noticed by brands who want to reach a younger generation that habitually engages with this kind of content.
There have been several notorious examples of corporate brands trying to capitalise on internet meme culture, only to have it work against them. Ironically, the popular meme of “How do you do, fellow kids?” comes to mind when brands try to engage with the hip new thing.
It seems those brands partnering with the now deleted meme accounts were going about things in a smarter way. Instead of trying to engineer memes in-house, they invested in organically growing accounts that posted memes getting high levels of engagement.
Now, this strategy is defunct with Instagram cracking down on these types of arrangements. Instagram cites several policy violations and loopholes that have been exploited by these accounts.
Owners of the meme pages are naturally upset with the sudden decision, many of them losing access to their primary revenue stream overnight.
@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
The reactions are mixed. Some sympathise with the account owners while others say that this was a long time coming.
At any rate, this news highlights the risk that putting all your digital eggs in one basket poses. If everything you do is based on a single platform, you are at the mercy of that platforms’ developers and policy makers.
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