Staff | Report
A fourth year psychology student was blocked by IGNITE’s official Instagram account on Thursday for what they called “spam” after several weeks of criticizing the student union for inaction on several issues.
The University of Guelph-Humber student, who co-founded the Pre-Med Society on campus, Hannah Derue, said that she made several comments criticizing IGNITE’s efforts largely around the Student Choice Initiative.
“You have done nothing to inspire the confidence or voluntary dollars of the students you’re looking to represent,” she wrote in one comment on a Feb. 5 post from IGNITE about a protest they attended.
“Here’s where our student government’s priorities are as we wrap up the last semester of mandatory ancillary fees. Good luck with convincing student(s) to find your meme account in the fall,” she respond on another post that depicted a popular creature from the Harry Potter movies.
These and other comments were removed after the student union blocked her account. A video posted by Derue in her Instagram Story shows how when she is logged out she can access the @ShareIGNITE page but when she logs in, she is unable to.
In a response to a tweet from Derue, IGNITE said she was blocked because her account was “used to spam our Instagram with the same comment on 24 posts, and so we blocked it” and invited her to contact their media coordinator if she wants to have it unblocked.
Derue replied to IGNITE’s response with a video showing what appeared to be a “bot account” for a business selling fruit on a Valentine’s Day-themed post, asking: “so IGNITE takes down my comments and blocks me but leaves spam messages from advertisers and bot accounts?”
There has not yet been a response from the student union to Derue’s reply.
“IGNITE should be ashamed of itself for running on a platform of transparency and blocking and deleting comments from those who dissent,” Derue told The Avro Post, referencing the student union’s statements saying they are transparent.
“They do not operate with democratic principles in mind and censor outside opinions. This will be reflected as students vote with their wallets this fall.”
There is no precedent known by The Avro Post for the student union to block an individual student. Other students have made some comments critical of IGNITE or have supported Derue’s comment but do not appear to have been blocked.
An investigation by The Avro Post to be published later this week found that IGNITE has posted 28 memes — humorous images usually made funny the text superimposed on them — since Jan. 17 when changes to student financial life were announced.
The Avro Post has reached out for comment from the executive director and president of IGNITE. The student union, however, has not responded to a formal request for comment since August 2018.
Image of IGNITE from The Avro Post.
Disclaimer: Hannah Derue is the partner of the editor-in-chief of The Avro Post but this story was written without influence and has been independently written and reviewed for accuracy and impartial reporting.