Sunday, July 28, 2019
Instagram removes some more meme accounts, but this may be due to genuinely inauthentic commercial behavior by users
About thirty Instagram users running “meme” accounts had their work deactivated and removed this weekend, following a similar purge last December. Fox5 in San Diego offers a typical story.
Some critics say that the incident is related to a FB-driven crackdown on conservative or even libertarian ideology, and is motivated by the 2020 elections, and more observers are noting the enormous power social media companies have on American elections, possibly with Russian influence (as with Mueller’s testimony last week).
A narrower reading of the incident suggests that some users were violating terms of service, including offering verification services or restoration available only to members of the established media (although why that would be so is disturbing). Several users were making large incomes, one as a college fund.
Memes normally comprise graphics or brief video or audio that metaphorically illustrate a political concept, but sometimes even wordmarks (like my “do ask do tell”) are viewed as memes. Pewdiepie, a entertainer and a grown man getting rich by acting out online the role of a little boy playing with Christmas toys (like Minecraft) brags about his memes in gest with no real political message. Unfortunately, people read into memes what they want to see already.