If you’re reading this post, you’re probably here for one of two reasons. One, you want to know my story and what happened to my Instagram account. Or two, you have lost your Instagram account as well and want some help. No matter what brought you here, I hope this post provides the help and reassurance you need. In this post I go into detail on what happened when my Instagram account was deactivated (twice!) and everything I’ve learned from it.
If you’d like to skip to a certain section, use this navigation list:
First Account Details
Lessons From My First Account
Second Account Details
Lessons From My Second Account
What To Do If Your Account Was Deactivated
How To Prevent Your Account From Being Deactivated
My Instagram journey began back in 2018 with the hope of someday becoming an “Instagram blogger.” I saw that people were getting free items from brands to share on social media and I wanted to be a part of that. I wasn’t even thinking about PAID opportunities in the beginning. Simply sharing fashion finds with my audience made me happy. Instagram deactivated my first account after two years. Since beginning my journey in 2018 my Instagram account was deactivated and shut down… TWICE. The first time was December 20, 2020. The second was November 30, 2022.
My first account @justjstylinlife was shut down for using a third party app to unfollow accounts that weren’t following me back. I reached out to someone who was supposed to be able to help, but he said he couldn’t restore my account. So I moved on, created a new account, and started all over again from zero. My second account @just_j_stylin_life had become a bigger success than my first with fewer followers and more brand collaborations. I felt like I was on the brink of becoming super successful with this account. My relationships with friends were growing, I was becoming more known in my community, getting invited to numerous events, and opportunities were abounding. Until one morning it all came crashing down when my Instagram account was deactivated on November 30th – AGAIN.
OH, GREAT… HERE WE GO AGAIN I THOUGHT
This time my account was deactivated for “posting fraudulent content that doesn’t follow the law.” I had shared a checkered tote bag on my stories saying it was similar to a specific designer bag but cheaper and shared the link to the bag. Because I mentioned the name of the designer bag and said “similar” and “cheaper” my account was flagged for selling counterfeit goods and was therefore shut down. I submitted multiple appeals (5-6 I believe) and tried other methods to recover my account with no luck. In an instant I lost everything that I worked so hard to rebuild over the past two years. POOF – gone! No no way to connect with friends, all my saved posts and highlights lost, and a lost desire to do anything else. But why was my account deactivated when SO MANY other people share dupes and fakes ALL. THE. TIME?!?
What was strange to me is that I have another account @gardenialaneboutique associated with my main account that was never shut down. I even mentioned that I owned this account as well and shared screenshots in my appeals, but they still let me keep this account for some reason. Instagram actually responded to one of my appeals on December 20th saying “we regret to inform you we cannot reactivate your account. It was used to sell counterfeit goods.” I specifically mentioned my @gardenialaneboutique account in this appeal, stating that I also own that account – yet they didn’t do anything to it.
AT THIS POINT I JUST WANTED TO BE ABLE TO CONNECT WITH MY COMMUNITY AGAIN…
As I waited and prayed I would hear back from one of my appeals, I created a new account with a new email to begin again… for a third time. It worked for a few days until THAT Instagram account was deactivated. I received a message saying it’s against the terms & conditions to create a new account when you’ve been previously deactivated. UGH!! I couldn’t catch a break – everything I loved and enjoyed doing was just gone and I was at a loss for what to do. I’m not sure if it was because I mentioned my main account in my bio, or if it picked up on me messaging people saying my “áccóunt was déactiváted” (accents purposely included).
Once again I was devastated. I was feeling down, depressed, discouraged and sad. Was there something else I should be doing instead? Should I be focusing on my blog, Pinterest, TikTok or something else instead? I pondered all of these thoughts in my head. Yet nothing stood out to me. Nothing peaked my interest or held my attention. My thoughts would always go back to Instagram. I desired to connect with my friends and to simply have a place to share daily life.
A few weeks later I attempted to reset the password for an old account I had from back in 2020, @jtravelswear. I had no luck the first time, but tried again a few days later and was able to login. Halleleujah! 🎉 I’ve been careful not to mention anything about my previous account, that it was deactivated, or why my Instagram account was deactivated. At the time of writing this post, I am using this account and have not had any issues so far. I am planning on reaching out to Facebook support regarding my @just_j_stylin_life account in hopes of connecting with someone who’s willing to help.
I worked on my first Instagram account @justjstylinlife for nearly 2 years before it got deactivated. I started my account with a simple photo of shoes, not knowing what on earth I was doing. Over time I learned more and more about what to do (and now what not to do) on Instagram. I tried numerous giveaways, engagement groups and the follow-unfollow method — all things that you should NOT do now. I even paid almost $300 to invest in a course that taught ways to grow exponentially, which ultimately ended up being the reason I LOST my account. My account had 3,800 followers at the time Instagram deactivated my account.
I tried getting my account back through appeals and even reached out to someone who was supposedly able to help get my account back. He asked why my Instagram account was deactivated and when I told him, he said “I’m sorry, I can’t reactivate your account. What you did was against the terms and conditions” and that was it.
It was devastating to lose what I put so much time and effort into, but honestly it was almost a relief too. When you lose something you’ve worked so hard on, things get put into perspective. I realized that people could tell I was stressed out, not enjoying myself and not truly connecting with people. Having it all taken away was almost as if all my stress and worries were taken away as well. Yet I realized that this is what I wanted to do, so I began a new account and started over again.
WHAT I LEARNED WHEN MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT WAS DEACTIVATED THE FIRST TIME…
- It’s against the terms & conditions to use third party (non-Instagram) apps to log into your account and perform actions (following or unfollowing accounts)
- When you do the same action repeatedly in a short amount of time, like unfollowing, Instagram flags your account as a non-human user
- Instagram is about connecting with people and building relationships, not the numbers of likes, follows or comments you receive
- Take the time to actually read captions and respond with a thoughtful comment. It helps you connect on a deeper level with the person
- You don’t own your Instagram account and it can be taken away at any moment. So put your time into something you own like a website or email list
After my account was deactivated the first time, I felt pretty certain about this new one. I thought surely I know what’s not allowed now so this won’t happen again. So I restarted and created a new account @just_j_stylin_life. This account became more successful than the first and I was bringing in additional income each month. I rebuilt it to 2,400 followers within 2 years with a pretty niche audience. Then on November 30, 2022 Instagram deactivated this account. Instagram sent an email at 3:30 am stating that content was removed from my account and access was disabled.
Once again I was in disbelief. This had to be a mistake. Why didn’t I get a warning? Deactivated… just like that. Over a bag that wasn’t even a counterfeit. It looked SIMILAR but it did not have the text logo in the squares. The piping on the side was red, not brown. The pattern inside was similar but not identical. It was not an exact replica like many that other people share. Every single day I see someone sharing about a dupe for popular brands with no penalty. But my Instagram account was deactivated over sharing a somewhat similar bag. Yet there are legitimate scammers, criminals, highly sexual accounts and WAY worse accounts out there that aren’t being penalized or deactivated. They deactivated my main account but didn’t do anything with my @gardenialaneboutique account I also owned.
WHY WAS MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT DEACTIVATED BUT NOT EVERYONE ELSE’S?
I attempted to log into my main account a few times over the course of a month. Multiple appeals were submitted to get my account back. At one point I tried logging in and Instagram said “no user found” and I began to freak out. A few days later I attempted to log in again and got this message.
Yep, it was because of the similar bag I shared. And of course this happened right before the Christmas season when I had a lot of events and collaborations lined up. Luckily I had not taken any paid opportunities that required me to post during this time. This was the busiest season of the year. I was constantly on my phone creating and editing content, interacting with friends and taking in content. When in reality I should have been paying more attention to my fiancé, going to the gym, and working on other tasks. Instagram was taking over all of my thoughts and free time.
It wasn’t until Instagram deactivated my account this second time that I was forced to focus my time elsewhere. And I am honestly so thankful I did. With limited access to Instagram and no account to post to, I found other things to spend my time on. I accomplished so much more in the month without having Instagram. My days and weeks were rollercoasters of emotions though. I would have low days where I was super down and demotivated. And I would have great days where I grateful for the break I had from the stresses of social media. There were days full of hope and days with little to no hope.
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CHALLENGES WITHOUT INSTAGRAM
Like I mentioned before, I went through days where I was completely discouraged and had no motivation to do anything. But through the good and the bad, being without Instagram helped me discover what my passion is. My passion is simply sharing things that bring me joy and connecting with my community and friends online. I have met some of my BEST friends through social media. Nothing else compares to the connections you can build on Instagram. You cannot find the community on Instagram anywhere else.
Many exciting opportunities and collaborations come through Instagram as well. When my Instagram account was deactivated I lost my ability to collaborate with pretty much anyone. Sadly many brands only see numbers and not the connections you have with your audience regardless of how small. I went from 2,394 followers to just 224. I had plans of reaching out to a few clear teeth aligner companies to do a 6 month collaboration with monthly updates. And now with only 224 followers they wouldn’t even consider a collaboration.
Being without Instagram made me realize that Instagram truly is my passion, above all other platforms. I enjoy sharing more on TikTok and Pinterest, watching my engagements grow. However I stand by my statement that nothing compares to the connections you can build on Instagram.
BUT LOSING MY ACCOUNT TAUGHT ME MORE VALUABLE LESSONS
Without Instagram I had more motivation to go to the gym and work out. Instead of coming home and sitting on the couch to prepare and share a post and stories, I would go to the gym and work out. Even if it was only for 15 minutes. I was focusing my time more on my health and it was a great feeling.
In my time without Instagram I have
- Gone to multiple events still
- Started using TikTok more
- Wrote more blog posts (something I actually own!)
- Shared on Pinterest more
- Booked my destination Bachelorette trip
- Spent time with family and friends
- Went to the gym and worked out more
- Spent more quality time with my fiancé not on our phones
- Enjoyed not having the stress of posting constantly
Now that I have access to my @jtravelswear account, I am using Instagram again. But I am intentionally choosing when I use it and how I use it. And I’m not being so selective on what I post. I share what I want when I want to, and I don’t feel the pressure to post by a certain date or time. And I am still choosing to put my health first and choose a workout before an Instagram post. It’s a freeing feeling! You can do this too. Choose to focus on your health instead of social media. Take a break from the stress of constantly posting and interacting. Enjoy your life and spend time with the people you love. I promise it’s way better than Instagram.
WHAT I LEARNED WHEN MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT WAS DEACTIVATED THE SECOND TIME…
- It’s against the terms & conditions to share similar or “inspired” items that are similar to designer items (even if they’re not an identical copy)
- Instagram was taking up so much of my time, thoughts and life!
- Don’t let Instagram get in the way of your normal life. Prioritize your health and time. Take the time to go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch working on social media
- Post when you want to, not when you feel like you have to
- Don’t be so hard on yourself about what to share – if you enjoy it, share it
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT WAS DEACTIVATED
The first thing to do if your Instagram account has been deactivated is to fill out the information required to prove you are the owner of the account. They will ask for the email associated with the account and the phone number. You will then be sent a code to the phone number you provide.
If you do not get your account back within 24-48 hours, the next step is to submit an appeal through the app. Enter your login information as you would, and there should be a button to “appeal” the decision. This is where you explain why your account should not have been deactivated. You are at the mercy of the Instagram team for a response, and they are notorious for not responding. I have heard a few theories on submitting appeals for account deactivation in order to get a response.
- The first theory is that the more appeals you submit, the more likely you are to receive a response on one of them. The more you send, the higher chance one of them will be seen
- The second theory is that every time you submit an appeal, your “spot in the line” to be viewed gets bumped back down to the bottom. I am not sure if this is true, but I waited a few weeks to test it out
I DO NOT KNOW WHICH IS CORRECT, SO THIS IS WHAT I DID
The first few days after my Instagram account was deactivated I submitted multiple appeals. Each day I would submit a new appeal with a new message and photos. I submitted 3-4 appeals in the first few days. Then I waited about 2 weeks to submit another so my spot wouldn’t be bumped back down (if it does actually).
While waiting for a response to my appeals, I reached out to a few close Instagram friends for help. One of my friends sent me this article on How To Get Your Disabled Instagram Account Back through Facebook Support. This article goes in-depth about a process to contact Facebook Support for help to reactivate your account. Essentially, you create a business page on Facebook, pay for an ad, and then contact support once the ad is complete. You can spend as little as $5 on an ad. Facebook is a business and therefore emphasizes helping other businesses. As soon as you pay for an ad, you are considered a business.
Unfortunately access to Facebook Support is not granted until your card is charged and processed. After paying for an ad, expect to wait about a month for it to post to your bank account. Once your ad charge has been processed you should have access to support.
IF YOU DO NOT GET HELP THE FIRST TIME DO NOT PANIC
Many people who have tried this method have said it took them multiple times chatting with different people to finally find someone who was willing to help. I have found that no matter how angry you are, being friendly creates more success. Nobody wants to help someone who is in a nasty mood and being rude to them. Do your best to be as kind as possible and the support member is more likely to help.
I plan on reaching out to Facebook Support soon to get my main account @just_j_stylin_life back. I will report back with updates later.
HOW TO PREVENT YOUR ACCOUNT FROM GETTING DEACTIVATED
Every Instagrammer’s worst fear is losing their account without notice. At any moment, Instagram has the power to disable your account and take away access and everything you worked so hard to build. So to have the greatest chance of this NOT happening to you, I recommend following these tips:
- Do turn on 2-factor authentication. Using an authenticator app makes it nearly impossible for someone to hack into your account
- Do create an additional account or two as backup. Once your account is deactivated, creating a new account is against the Terms. But it says nothing about using an already existing account
- Do engage authentically. Take time to leave a thoughtful response instead of “so cute” on every post. Repetitive comments can be flagged as spam
- Do not use any apps to show who is not following you back. Instagram can track their log ins to your account and flag them
- Do not follow or unfollow many accounts all at once. If you follow or unfollow 20 accounts within 10 seconds, Instagram will flag the action as non-human and spam
- Do not copy and paste the same comments or replies. This will also get flagged a spam
- Do not share any inspired items or dupes. It is a violation of intellectual property rights and against the law to share identical or nearly identical items
- Do not mention a designer name and the word “cheaper” in the same sentence even if the item is only somewhat similar. This is likely what got my account deactivated
Let me know in the comments if your Instagram account was deactivated and if you’ve had any luck getting it back. I hope that this post has given you some insight and guidance in this difficult time. I know how you feel, and I pray that you get your account back.
If you know of any other ways to get an Instagram account reactivated, please let us know! 👇