The girl who's been zucked a million times
My saga with the algorithms
I created my Instagram meme account, @NeoliberalHell, in February of 2021 where I began posting political and cultural memes. The account no longer exists, I have been permazucked. My new account is @neoliberalhell2 I created the account as an outlet to post all the things I found funny without spamming the people on my personal account, and I never expected it to grow at such a fast pace. In April of 2021, at around 1500 followers, my account was ‘zucked’ for the first time. (If you’re unfamiliar with this phrase, deplatforming is so common on Instagram and Facebook, and Zuckerberg is so greatly despised online that “getting zucked” is the common terminology for the process of losing your account due to community guideline violations.) The apparent reason was impersonation. I figured this was because my profile picture was a photo of indie folk singer Phoebe Bridgers, and my name bar read ‘Phoebe Bridgers Simp’. After appeals, and a funny explanation to the moderator operating the support email explaining what the word ‘simp’ means, the account was reactivated. Since then, after accumulating several account violations, my page has been disabled more times than I can count. I lost track around 6. This became an ongoing bit among my followers and friends on Instagram. Many would see my content and think it was strange I was targeted, as nothing I posted was too offensive or out of the ordinary in this online sphere. As my account was reactivated time and time again after several deletions, the algorithms got stricter as I was placed on some sort of blacklist. Not only was I on a ‘one strike you’re out’ basis as far as violations go, but I wasn’t allowed to say or post things the average Instagram user would. After a follower referenced a Britney Spears song on a post of mine, commenting: “Is this what the song ‘Work It’ was about?” I responded, correcting them “You mean ‘Work Bitch’?” and before the comment even sent it was autoflagged by an algorithm that took my whole account down yet again. I was not allowed to use swear words at all on the platform. After retrieving my account again, weeks later my account was taken down for jokingly calling a friend in my private messages a ‘raging douche.’ It was clear the problem had gotten so bad that they were spying on my private messages as well. I thought I was gone for good at this point, after filing appeals to no avail, but luckily by making connections in my community I’ve found a few good friends who work at Facebook and Instagram that have kindly helped me recover my account and remove some of my unjustified violations. As I build a following on this platform, opening so many opportunities to promote my art and connect with incredible people, it is terrifying that I could lose it all again because of these broken algorithms. I’m so lucky to have as many loyal followers as I do, who followed my backup accounts in case I go down again and supported my small business selling prints and t-shirts even when my account was down. Through this all I’ve become a helpful guide to others who’ve been deplatformed and a sort of figurehead for being zucked. I wanted to build this platform to showcase mine and my fellow memers' removed content, to provide some information on the algorithms, and frankly to make fun of Zuckerberg.