A wave of panic set over me when a client (a restaurant group) asked me where the Instagram account went for their upcoming Washington DC restaurant opening. It turned into full-blown terror when I couldn’t log into the account, and there was no email from Instagram explaining what had happened. We already had a good following comprised of this restaurant group’s most die-hard fans, and I knew it would look super amateur hour for me – their social media manager – to launch a new account. I knew I had to get it back.
It’s relatively hard to delete an Instagram account. Instagram doesn’t like losing users. Deletion must be done from a web browser. Because of this, I knew it wasn’t accidentally deleted by someone who had the password even though that’s how the account was behaving. It was acting like it was permanently deleted.
However, I was also used to Instagram sending me an email or a warning when it sensed “suspicious activity,” but this time the account was deleted without warning. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but a quick Reddit search showed other accounts had experienced this issue before and so I began the process of appealing to Instagram to get it back.
The first thing I did was try to log in, and it said “User Not Found.”
Then, I clicked “Forgot password?” and again, after filling in the proper email and usernames, kept getting a “User Not Found” error.
Finally, I clicked “Need more help?” The first time one clicks on this, it will lead to a HELP page, but after trying it a few more times, a form eventually pops up to try to recover the Instagram account. I filled it out for two things: 1) I said it was hacked, and 2) I said it was deleted. I immediately got two automated emails from Instagram saying the same thing:
I emailed “them” back with my answers, and about 20 minutes later, this arrived:
While I was not thrilled to be accused of violating their terms, I was happy to receive the link to request a review.
I immediately filled it out, and when I hadn’t heard a response in 12 hours, I filled it out again. Both times I wrote a short, polite, kind message – and both times, I said we were hoping to start ads soon (which is true). I am not sure if the mention of moolah helped, but I figured it didn’t hurt to try.
FINALLY, I got this note from Instagram today, making it a less than three day turnaround from the discovery that the account is down to its reactivation this morning.
Also this morning, I got a panicked text from a gal who also does social media management for small businesses and she had the SAME THING happen to a restaurant account that is opening soon in her town. I think the AI for Instagram that hunts down spam is being a little aggressive this month (September and October 2019) and I have a feeling it will all sort itself out soon. In the meantime, I hope this helps you if your account is down! If you’re stuck, please feel free to contact me and we can work together to get your account up and running again.