Instagram shuts down dozens of accounts used to make cash

More than a dozen of young Instagram users who use the social media platform to make cash say that their accounts have recently been removed.


A Facebook representative said the accounts were disabled following multiple violations of platform policies, as well as tried abuse of internal processes.


Declan Mortimer, 17, who claims his Instagram account generated up to $200,000 a year through advertising to his over11 million followers, said his account was terminated last Christmas. He believes his account was closed as a part of a vast meme page purge. An analogous purge happened Friday morning, once Instagram terminated over 30 accounts with similar meme-like content citing policy violations. (A meme is an amusing or interesting item, like a captioned image or video that’s spread virally online, particularly through social media).


Several meme page owners, who asked to stay anonymous, told FOX 5 that the termination of their Instagram is “heartbreaking” and a financial blow. They said they created money by charging firms who wanted to succeed in their base of followers thousands of dollars for a single post. One 18-year-old named Caige, whose account “@autist” was deactivated Thursday, said he had already made over $30,000 this year. He said he was using the cash he made with Instagram for college.


Mortimer told FOX 5 he believes meme pages are being deleted because they were reaching out to users who additionally violate Instagram policy by selling verification services, retrieving disabled user names and reinstating prohibited accounts through a private program that’s solely supposed to be available for members of the media.


A Facebook representative confirmed that Instagram shuts down accounts that violate the company’s terms of use. Violations that could end in termination include making an attempt to buy, sell or transfer any aspect of an account (including the username) or use login credentials of other users. Sharing sensitive personal info (names, bank account details, addresses, etc.) and transferring funds or sending cash through Instagram or Facebook accounts are also violations, the representative said.