On the morning of Saturday, May 25, 2019, after an unsuccessful login to my Instagram account, I was greeted with this error message:
The first thing that raced through my mind was “Oh no, this cannot be possibly be happening to me.” See, this Instagram account was only three weeks old. On it, I had one picture of me at a graduation celebration. That was it. Not to mention this was my third personal Instagram account (personal self-esteem issues as a teenager led to me constantly deleting and reinstalling the app).
Needless to say, I experienced a whole range of emotions in the first hours I was locked out of my account. Questions like “What terms could I have possibly violated?” and “Is this a sign from the universe that I am not meant to be on this platform?” raced my mind. I looked through what the next steps would be and below I have compiled a list of actions I took from that Saturday morning up until Tuesday, May 28, 2019 morning, when my account was finally reactivated.
1) Upon clicking on ‘Learn More’ in the error message, I was redirected to a page that explained what violating the community guidelines meant. Positive I had not done such things, I clicked the link at the bottom to fill out the appeal form. Once I did that, I immediately received an email asking me to write out my information (name, account, and a code provided) on a piece of paper and take a picture of myself with the paper. I did this process this twice on Saturday, then once on Sunday.
2) I filled out this form on Facebook (I strongly believe this is the method that worked for me). I filled it out about once or twice. I did not get an immediate response but eventually received not one, but two responses Tuesday morning saying my account was reactivated (Yay!).
3) I read this post about reporting your account as hacked. I tried this method about five – seven times, averaging about three tickets each day. I was confused about the ID requirements and which led to those amount of tickets. If you do choose to go this route, make sure you redact sensitive parts of your ID (You only need a picture, DOB, and full name showing). The first ticket I submitted Saturday night got a response Sunday morning saying my request could not be completed (due to my confusion on ID, once again). After replying to the email with a clear picture, I did not receive any follow-ups. So, I kept trying again and again, with the subsequent tickets generating no furthermore responses.
4) I created a Facebook Business Page and Run an Ad. I would suggest this only if your desire is to speak with a human directly and you have enough money in your account. After creating my ad (something related to my personal website, with a max budget of a whopping $1 for a one-day duration), I was able to gain access to the chat support option on the help page. Just when I was about to inform my representative of my disabled account, I received the first email I mentioned in #2! I believed this would have worked because I read posts about it working for others. Thankfully, I did not need to utilize it (even though it did set me back by a dollar).
Together, these methods are what I utilized to gain back access to my account. I would estimate to have sent in about 15 tickets in total (lol!). While it is hard to exactly conclude which one exactly brought my account back, I am just thankful to have it back. Those 72 hours were a time of self-reflection and introspection, which I much needed. Now, it’s time to get back to the ‘gram.