Instagram continues to crack down on accounts that break their terms of service, and that means more deactivated accounts. But recently as I was creating new social media outlets for a new website I was working on, Instagram deactivated my account. Now what?
While I can’t be sure that this was part of it, I did happen to create the Instagram account on a weekend when Instagram was cracking down hard on account violators.
Here’s what happened when Instagram deactivated my account
As I was signing up, there weren’t any signs of an issue while filling in the registration fields until I hit the final “create account” button. I was immediately met with the message of, “Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again later.”
So I waited and tried again later. This time, I was met with another dreaded error message: “this username is not available.”
Wait a minute. How could that be? Just one hour earlier it was clearly available (and unique in name). I wasn’t ready to give up. I refreshed the screen and tried again. Same result.
I then started receiving an error message when entering the email address into its part of the form. Odd. So, as a test, I used another email address and tried again. The form accepted the new email address, but rejected the username. It was really gone.
The lightbulb moment
I puzzled over this until the next day when I thought, “what if the account was actually created but somehow I didn’t get confirmation?”
With this new train of thought, I pulled out my phone and opened up the Instagram app, went to the accounts page, and hit “add account.”
Entering my original username and password that I created for the account, the login worked. But I was immediately met with a message I didn’t think would ever happen to me: “Your account has been deactivated for violating our terms.”
I slumped in my chair. “How could this be?” I wondered. “I’m the most upstanding Instagram user that I know!” And not to mention a professional social media practitioner.
The appeal form
Fortunately there was more than just a message on the denial page. “Learn how you may be able to restore your account.”
I immediately tapped through to see what would be next. On the following page was instructions and a form. It told me that I could submit one of several forms of proving that I was indeed a legitimate Instagram user creating this account.
Included on the list were options of sending copies of articles of incorporation, a bill with the business name on it, and proof of domain ownership.
Cracking a smile, I knew proof of domain ownership would be my ticket out of this mess. I had just purchased the domain and, after checking, saw that I would need three more days before it would clear into my account.
After waiting for the domain to post in my account, I went back to the Instagram app and through the form process again.
It’s important to note that users cannot mitigate deactivated accounts of this kind on Instagram’s website. There was no choice. I had to use the app.
I submitted a screenshot of the domain inside my registrar’s account after filling out the form. The app gave me confirmation of receiving the request. Now it was time to wait.
The email request
How long would it be? I had no clue. A day later, I got an email that said this:
Thanks for contacting us. Before we can help, we need you to confirm that you own this account. Please reply to this email and attach a photo of yourself holding a hand-written copy of the code below.
[CODE WAS HERE]
Please make sure that the photo you send:
– Includes the above code hand-written on a clean sheet of paper, followed by your full name and username
– Includes both your hand that’s holding the sheet of paper and your entire face
– Is well-lit, and is not too small, dark or blurry
– Is attached to your reply as a JPEG file
Keep in mind that even if this account doesn’t include any pictures of you or is used to represent someone or something else, we won’t be able to help until we receive a photo that meets these requirements.
The Instagram Team
It was an interesting request. They wanted a selfie with my face in it and a hand-written code. So I grabbed my phone, a sharpie, and a post-it note, took a selfie with what they wanted, and replied back to the email.
That was on a Saturday. I waited two more days before getting an email back early on Monday morning:
Your account has been reactivated, and you should be able to access it now. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. If you have any further questions, please visit the Help Center:
[LINK WAS HERE]
Instagram deactivated my account, but I got it back
Well, I was glad it worked, but I certainly didn’t enjoy going through all that. Instagram in its rise in popularity as a social platform has much more to deal with than it used to, and I respect that.
I just wish I didn’t have to be some of the collateral damage along the way. But maybe better me than someone else who would really have no clue what to do.