The Atlantic

Instagram’s Christmas Crackdown

No meme account is safe—not even @God.
Source: Javrock / Shutterstock / The Atlantic

Gabe Kenworthy, a 22-year-old freelance content manager for some of Instagram’s most notorious meme pages, was up at 2 o’clock on Christmas morning. He was sitting on his parents’ couch searching for heartwarming holiday content to post when he realized something was wrong.

Just after he sent his partner some memes for approval, Kenworthy’s phone exploded with texts. Jonathan Foley, the owner of a network of meme pages with millions of followers, including @SocietyFeelings, @Deep, and @Positivity, told him that Instagram had shut down his accounts without warning, along with a slew of others.

Instagram regularly purges batches of accounts that the platform says violate its terms. And this is not the first time Instagram has cracked down on spam during the holidays. In December 2014, the company deleted hundreds of thousands of accounts in what became.” But rarely does a strike affect so many notable pages at once. Some memers have estimated that more than 500 accounts were shut down over the past few days, including pages with millions of followers, such as @ComedySlam and @Pubity. Even @God was suspended on Christmas. “Instagram is the Grinch this year,” said Ryan, a 20-year-old who lost a network of pages with more than 1 million followers and asked to be referred to by his first name only because of concerns about hacking.

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