The memers of Instagram are unionizing, and while they’ve already made plenty of memes about it, it’s definitely not a joke.
Some of the platform’s top meme accounts have banded together to form “IG Meme Local 69-420,” The Atlantic reported. While the name may be cheeky, the principles behind it are sincere. In launching the union, the creative talent behind the content that generates a large portion of Instagram’s engagement seeks recognition, protection and a share of the profits the multi-million-dollar platform rakes in.
“People are doing a lot of work, doing it for free or little compensation, or not recognized for the work they’re doing,” Paul Praindo, a representative of the organizing committee, told The Atlantic. “All these people are bringing revenue to Instagram, producing this major profit margin for this company, and they’re subject to really little job security.”
While The Atlantic notes it’s unlikely the Instagram meme union would ever be officially recognized by the National Labor Regulations Board, the organizers behind the movement say it can still function as a union and represents “the beginning of a labor renaissance.”
“We’re calling it a union and doing union-organizing tactics,” Praindo told the outlet. The union is currently accepting applications via an online form.
The memers behind the union seek a more transparent appeals process for account bans, a more direct line of support with Instagram, and increased protection of original content.
“We as content creators want to have worker protections,” Praindo said. “Even if you’re producing funny pictures of Shrek, that should not determine whether you’re taken seriously as a creator … We are a meme union; the whole point of it is to work for protections for other content creators.”
Instagram, for its part, seems relatively unconcerned. “We’re always listening to feedback from the community,” a representative told The Atlantic in a statement. “We’re happy to have the feedback so we can improve. Hearing these concerns is useful for us.”