Is Instagram Doing an About-Face When It Comes to Meme Accounts?

After a massive purge last month, it is hiring a strategic partner manager for digital publishers

One of the job requirements is "be an internal advocate within Facebook and Instagram for partners"
Alex_Bond/iStock

Is Instagram extending an olive branch to the meme community, or looking to monetize it?

In late July, multiple reports surfaced about a meme purge by the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network, affecting accounts with an estimated 33 million followers.

A Facebook spokesperson said, “These accounts were disabled following multiple violations of our policies, including attempted abuse of our internal processes.”

Similar to the experiences some companies in the cannabis industry have had with Instagram, many of those accounts were suspended without warning, but some account holders shared the message they saw when attempting to access Instagram: “Your account has been deleted for not following our terms. You won’t be able to log into this account and no one else will be able to see it.”

However, realizing that meme content gets shared on its platform seven times more than non-meme content, according to Instagram’s own statistics, and that many accounts sharing those memes are monetizing, the company is looking to patch things up.

Lila King, head of news and publishing partnerships at Instagram, told Taylor Lorenz of The Atlantic that the company will hire a strategic partnerships manager with a focus on meme accounts and digital partnerships, who will be tasked with both teaming up with existing accounts and identifying new formats and trends.

King told Lorenz, “Ideally, we’d find someone who is equally fluent in the language of memes and the business of digital publishing. Like all good partnerships people, you need someone who is a strong communicator, good community builder—a unicorn, basically.”

The introduction in the job listing for strategic partner manager, digital publishers, reads in part, “The person in this role will identify, plan and execute strategic initiatives with emerging media publishers, strengthen relationships with this cohort of publishers and help them find success on Instagram. A demonstrated passion for the news and publishing industry and how it intersects with technology are musts for this job, as well as an understanding of evolving forms of visual communication and publisher business models.”

The responsibilities in the job listing are:

  • Manage strategy, implementation and optimization of Instagram’s strategic partnerships with select digital publishers.
  • Collaborate and communicate regularly with partners to develop innovative and high-impact partnerships, and drive operational management of projects.
  • Be an internal advocate within Facebook and Instagram for partners, including with product and cross-functional teams.
  • Work with relevant internal teams to ensure that Instagram is considering partner input regarding relevant product and policy decisions.
  • Track, analyze and communicate (internally and externally) quantitative metrics and business trends as they relate to partners.
  • Align with priority cross-functional stakeholders who are actively engaged with partner set.

Instagram’s minimum qualifications for the role include at least 10 years of experience in media and publishing, content production and/or partner management; project management experience; communication experience; experience thinking strategically about issues; and experience working cross-functionally, both internally and externally.

And its preferred qualifications are, “rapid learner who thrives in a fast-paced environment” and “creative thinker who can concept and execute on behalf of a diverse partner set.”

King told Lorenz, “Memes are a format that you’re starting to see traditional media companies adopt more and more … We think if we can get to know and understand (the meme community), there is a lot to learn that can influence the more traditional media companies.”

And Instagram head of global creative partnerships Charles Porch admitted to Lorenz, “We’ve never gone out to this community and given best practices.”