Are Maltese Pages Unfairly Treated By Social Media Platforms?


In the wake of Luke Lyttleton’s TikTok account deactivation, and FreeHour‘s recent Instagram suspension, we got to asking a pretty pertinent question. Are Maltese pages being unfairly treated by these giant social media platforms?

Technically, no

The short answer is no, because when we sign up for these accounts, we’re agreeing to their terms and conditions. If you post something that ends up being flagged (by a person or program), it’s usually an algorithm that decides whether you’ve fallen foul of the guidelines or not.

Herein lies the issue. For these kinds of platforms, if you’ve got a million or so fans, you’re bumped up the priority list, because of your heavy following. Now, 30,000 might seem like small fry to the big guns, but it’s a big deal for us.

So, is it time for these platforms to take cases on a relative basis? What we mean is, they can’t assume that 30,000 followers in Malta is the same as 30,000 followers in the UK, for example. The percentages are completely different, and should be treated as such.

Why we should care

Simply put, it’s a livelihood for some. Take Mr Lyttleton’s case – he’s a comedian, using TikTok to showcase his brand of humour. Despite having 29,000 followers, his account got shut, and even after 20 e-mails (yep, we checked), he’s without an answer. In the soon-to-come long run, it’s going to affect his livelihood. It’s kind of difficult to organise a comedy show right now, with empty bars around the island.

FreeHour have an established “relationship”, so to say, with Insta, because it’s not the first time they were incorrectly inconvenienced. With their predominantly student market, social media is key, apart from another key fact. They rely on advertising to continue functioning to the high levels that they do. Now imagine taking that away for a couple of days. That ain’t good.

What can we do about it?

Probably not an awful lot. However, speaking with Zach Ciappara (founder of FreeHour), he feels that although there’s no bad blood between them and Insta, there is a need for improved communication. Not just for FreeHour, of course, but for all the companies using Instagram to spread their brand’s message.

Should social media platforms pay equal attention to people and brands, no matter what following size they operate with?