Instagram not only hosts racist content, but entire accounts dedicated to sharing racist memes and which encourage others to do the same.

The content can be reported, and with your help we hope the two account and 15 examples documented below will soon be offline. More proactive responses are, however, needed from Instagram.

When it comes to stopping racism against Indigenous Australians, Instagram today appears to be back where Facebook was in 2014. Since then Facebook has improved (but it is by no means perfect), while the company has to learn those same lessons all over again when it comes to Instagram – their other major social media platform.

Instagram is used positively within the Indigenous community (see for example the hashtags #ProudAboriginal and #AboriginalAustralia), but unfortunately, this positive content is polluted with the racist content Instagram fails to remove. While there are only a few dedicated racist accounts targeting Indigenous Australians, there should not be any. Their use of hashtags makes these negative memes appear more widespread as the same content shows up over and over again in different searches and on different web-pages that draw their content from Instagram.

Please join us in taking action on the content below, and in supporting our March 2020 campaign tackling Racism Against Indigenous Australians. You can also donate to support this work.

The First Account

The account aboriginal_memes1 was setup in July 2019. It hosts content copied from meme websites.

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The site contains mostly racist memes, but also a few non-racist memes. Its primary purpose seems to be drawing attention to the treaty.com.au website which is empty and available for sale. It looks like it was been registered for squatting purposes in order to extort a large sum of money once a treaty process (such as the one being planned in Victoria) is underway.

Given that .com.au names are restricted to companies and other entities with a legitimate interest in the name, this registration should be terminated.

Recommendation: That ownership of treaty.com.au be investigated and terminated if there is no legitimate basis to the ownership

The following are examples of the content posted by this account.

Example 1

This example promotes negative stereotypes of Indigenous Australians as aggressive, abusive, drunks who are dependant on welfare.

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Example 2

This example promotes substance abuse. It also promotes a racist stereotype of Indigenous Australians as substance abusers, and that they are all poor and dependent on welfare.

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Substance abuse in the form of petrol sniffing has been a major health issue in some Indigenous communities. Thankfully research commissioned by the National Indigenous Australians Agency has shown that measures to address this health crisis have been very successful resulting in a decline in petrol sniffing of 95.2%.

Example 3

This example promotes a negative stereotype of Indigenous Australians as being reliant on welfare.

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Example 5

This example promotes a negative stereotype of Indigenous Australians as being reliant on welfare.

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The Second Account

The account aboriginalmemes_ says “SEND US UR MEMES” and (almost certainly falsely) claims to be “hardcore memes by blackfellas for blackfellas”. [Update: This account was closed after our campaign about it]

The account contains a range of racist memes, some of which are the same as those previously discussed. It is highly unlikely an Indigenous person would be posting such racist memes and far more likely this is an attempt to claim it isn’t racist so Instagram find it harder to close the account. As reported in our “Aboriginal Memes and Online Hate” report back in 2012, “Hate 2.0” uses such tactics to confuse platform administrators and keep racist content online.

The following examples come from the page:

Example 6

This example promotes a negative stereotype of Indigenous people being reliant on welfare.

The comment along side the image says:

“OI bruddah datz not 😎! iz not our fult dis is da way us were razd we need xtra suport! keep on fiting brudda we got dis✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿#proud #sorryday #aboriginal #memes #aboriginalmemes #fortnite #petrol #funny #dankmemes #traditionalaustralians #drugs #😂 #pewdiepie #womensrights #bruh #tiktok #black #gay #relatable #proudaboriginal #random #blacklivesmatter #blunt #brudda #offensivememes #offensive #centrelink #motivation #loveyourself #retard”

The message “it’s not our fault this is the way we were raised we need extra support” pushes the racist stereotype further. The use of so many hashtags pollutes search results on these terms.

Example 7

This is another variation on the substance abuse meme involving petrol.

The text alongside it reads:

“AYYEEE BRUDDA WHO BE CLOSIN DOWN ME PETROL STATION #proud #sorryday #aboriginal #memes #aboriginalmemes #fortnite #petrol #funny #dankmemes #traditionalaustralians #drugs #😂 #pewdiepie #womensrights #bruh #tiktok #black #gay #relatable #proudaboriginal #random #blacklivesmatter #blunt #brudda #offensivememes #offensive #centrelink #motivation #loveyourself #retard”

The fake outrage in an Aboriginal voice is itself offensive. The tags are designed to spread it into search results for other terms, again polluting those search results.

Example 8

Another meme promoting substance abuse.

No comment is given, but the same hashtags as in example 7 are used again, further polluting search results on these terms.

Example 9

This account also posts a copy of the Bottle-O meme, as seen above in Example 1. It promotes a negative stereotypes of Indigenous Australians as aggressive, abusive, drunks who are dependant on welfare.

The message beside it reads:

“NEVA SEEN SOMTHIN MOR RELATABL #proud #sorryday #aboriginal #memes #aboriginalmemes #fortnite #petrol #funny #dankmemes #traditionalaustralians #drugs #😂 #pewdiepie #womensrights #bruh #tiktok #black #gay #relatable #proudaboriginal #random #blacklivesmatter #blunt #brudda #offensivememes #offensive #centrelink #motivation #loveyourself #retard”

The comment “Never seen something more relatable” further promotes the stereotype. A range of hashtags are used to pollute other searches, but others are used to attract an audience who may be willing to promote racist memes, or simply to increase the reach of this post by including popular but irrelevant hashtags.

Example 10

This account also shares a copy of the meme of the Aboriginal family which it claims is going to Centrelink (seen in Example 5 above). This again promotes a negative stereotype of Indigneous Australians being dependant on welfare.

The text below again includes a collection of hashtags designed to increase the reach, pollute searches related to Indigenous Australians, and to get it in front of people who are more likely to spread it.

Example 11

The Instagram post from our fake Indigenous Australian seeks to present Indigenous Australians as racist while mocking the harm caused to Indigenous Australians which is commemorated by Indigenous communities on January 26th each year.

The message is a combination of the eye roll meme with the text “When someone tells you January 26 is Invasion Day” and the message of the post.

In the message, the fake Indigenous account owners declares Indigenous people “deserve more than you” and that Indigenous people “are better”. This is the projection of a racist carrying their own views and arguments across and presenting their racism through their fake Indigenous voice on the account. It is perhaps seeking to raise anger at support for the Indigenous community (such as awards and scholarships). The nature of this poorly written post, like others beforehand, seeks to promote a negative stereotype about the Intelligence of Aboriginal Australians.

The text reads:

“it is invason day u wite pepl r so arogent serisly how wood u kno wot tha aboriginal eldrers wood feel wen u take away ower land how wood u feel an u celerbrate takin owr land WE DESERV MOR THEN U WE R BETTR #proud #sorryday #aboriginal #memes #aboriginalmemes #fortnite #petrol #funny #dankmemes #traditionalaustralians #drugs #😂 #pewdiepie #womensrights #bruh #tiktok #black #gay #relatable #proudaboriginal #random #blacklivesmatter #blunt #brudda #offensivememes #offensive #centrelink #motivation #loveyourself #retard”

Example 12

This is one of the original memes from 2012, as documented in our “Aboriginal Memes and Online Hate” report back in 2012. The message “been around for 40 thousand years, invented a stick” attacks not only the intelligence of Indigenous Australians, but also the idea that a sophisticated culture existed prior to white settlement. The myth of terra nullius, that there was no civilisation before the British arrived, was rejected by the High Court of Australia in the Mabo (No 2) case. It is the foundation for Native Title rights of Indigenous people in Australia.

The post’s text reads:

“editd like a tru abo 😂😂 #proud #sorryday #aboriginal #memes #aboriginalmemes #blackfellasonly #petrol #funny #dankmemes #traditionalaustralians #blackaustralia #😂 #😂😂 #😂😂😂 #✊🏿✊🏿 #hilarious #black #whitiessuck #getstuffedscomo #proudaboriginal #random #blacklivesmatter #blunt #brudda #offensivememes #offensive #morningmotivation #motivation #loveyourself #nutella”

Example 13

Even the very positive graduation meme (discussed in our recent article) is misused by this account. The meme is included but then the comment says “verry spesal post no many blackfellas graduate” followed by three posts of laughing emojis.

The full text is:

“verry spesal post no many blackfellas graduate😂😂😂 #proud #sorryday #aboriginal #memes #aboriginalmemes #fortnite #petrol #funny #dankmemes #traditionalaustralians #drugs #😂 #pewdiepie #womensrights #bruh #tiktok #black #gay #relatable #proudaboriginal #random #blacklivesmatter #blunt #brudda #offensivememes #offensive #centrelink #motivation #loveyourself #retard”

Example 14

This mean promotes Aboriginal people as poor and needy.

The text reads:

“got sum? 😂😂 #proud #sorryday #aboriginal #memes #aboriginalmemes #fortnite #petrol #funny #dankmemes #traditionalaustralians #drugs #😂 #pewdiepie #womensrights #bruh #tiktok #black #gay #relatable #proudaboriginal #random #blacklivesmatter #blunt #brudda #offensivememes #offensive #centrelink #motivation #loveyourself #retard”

The hashtags similar to before are a combination of terms Indigenous people might search for, in order to target them, as well as entirely unrelated popular terms to increase the visibility of the meme, and hashtags to get it in front of people who are more likely to spread it.

Example 15

This is another copy of the “got some change” meme seen in Example 3. This time it includes the additional commentary, further promoting the racist stereotype, with the fake Indigenous account holder saying they spent their Centrelink money on cigarettes and beer.

Full text:

“nah mate spent me cenno pay on sum ciggies and 6 pack 😂😂😂 #proud #sorryday #aboriginal #memes #aboriginalmemes #fortnite #petrol #funny #dankmemes #traditionalaustralians #drugs #😂 #pewdiepie #womensrights #bruh #tiktok #black #gay #relatable #proudaboriginal #random #blacklivesmatter #blunt #brudda #offensivememes #offensive #centrelink #motivation #loveyourself #retard”

Take action, support the campaign!

This article is part of a month long campaign tackling racism against Indigenous Australians which we are running through March 2020.

  1. Please join us in reporting the content above.
  2. You can also message us about other racist content you see on Instagram content, and report content on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter via our online reporting tool at the campaign website.
  3. While we have met our first funding target, additional donations to the campaign fundraiser will allow us to further enhance the campaign.
  4. You can express your support for our work, or leave a comment on this article, in this Facebook discussion.
  5. Indigenous and anti-racism organisations are welcome to join the campaign as partners. Companies can join as sponsors. Details on the campaign page.

You can also see all of our past work tackling racism against Indigenous Australians over the past 8 years.

Our next campaign will run through April 2020 and will tackle Islamophobia. Donations to support this work can now be made at the tackling Islamophobia fundraiser.

The Online Hate Prevention Institute is a Registered Australian Charity we tackle all forms of online hate and extremism. Donations to support our general work can be made via the PayPal Giving Fund and in a number of other ways.