After 3.5 years of creating content for Instagram full time, Instagram has suspended my account! I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it, so I’ll try to answer them here:
Q: Wait, what happened?
A: Thursday morning I woke up, clicked on my Instagram app, and saw the message below. Neither the “chat” nor the “disagree” buttons did anything. No one can see or access my account including me. Many in our community think we specifically blocked them which makes me sad because of course we didn’t. The whole account is down.
Q: Why did they suspend your account?
A: In short, I have no idea. The only “official” word from Instagram is the message above. I suspect that we were mistakenly confused for one of the hundreds of scam accounts who copy my name, profile picture, and all of my content. I assume the scammers constantly report me in an attempt to get the real account taken down. I suspect Instagram suspended my account thinking we were one of the impersonators. There’s a lot of “suspects” and “assumes” here because I don’t have any special visibility into what’s going on. I have the same kind of Instagram access as any other regular user. For what it’s worth, I’ve read the Community Guidelines and believe I’ve been a model Instagram citizen.
Q: Why do you suspect the scammer thing?
Right after we were taken down there was only ONE scammer still up. I suspect Instagram was doing a purge and picked the wrong real account. Now that my real account is down, it’s a scammer free for all. At the moment, there’s at least 15 accounts impersonating me as you can see below. Here’s a short video explaining more about what the scammers are doing: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/MYBgfinkWQY
Q: Are you gonna get it back?
A: I hope so! I have a few Meta/Instagram employees who follow us and are trying to help by filing a ticket internally. We’re on day three and I haven’t gotten it back yet. (Very bad timing with the launch of our amazing new course which you should totally buy and is on sale until tomorrow) This has happened to others who have eventually gotten their account back. I’m hopeful I will too!
Q: Why don’t you just get blue check verified?
A: I wish I could! While I don’t necessarily want to tie my self worth to whether or not a social media giant deems me worthy it sure would help with this scammer problem! I’ve applied several times to be verified along with all necessary documentation and it’s been denied. It’s certainly a bit subjective, but I believe Instagram doesn’t consider me “notable” enough.
Q: Were you hacked?
A: Nope! Although, scammers constantly try. (I used to get hundreds of lost password emails every day before I turned them off). But I have a unique secure password along with two factor authentication. My account wasn’t hacked, rather Instagram just turned it off. The scammers create brand new accounts that LOOK like my account. I have no more ability to stop that than you do.
Q: Can I do anything to help?
A: Probably not. You can report the scammers, but I don’t think that does much. If it does, it doesn’t happen quickly. You can’t report them as impersonating a “public figure” because my account isn’t verified. If YOU work for Meta/Instagram and think I should be doing something else, I’m all ears!
Q: What if you don’t get it back?
A: I’m going to move on with my life! It won’t be the end of PFC, but we’ll focus on creating content on other platforms. Our Instagram content and followers represent 3.5 years of my hard work so it would be a bummer to lose it, but it’s not the worst thing to happen in the world. As a tall, healthy, rich, white, American male I try not to complain too much about injustices that happen to me. Losing a social media account is pretty low on that list.
As always, reminding you to build wealth by following the two PFC rules: 1.) Live below your means and 2.) Invest early and often.
Personal Finance Club