Instagram Disabled

On Saturday 25th September 2021 at around 10am, I opened instagram to publish a post. I selected the photo, copied in my pre-prepared caption and hashtags and hit publish in the exact way I have done for years. The post appeared to publish as it normally would however I was immediately faced with a pop up advising my account had been disabled. In the heat of the moment, I didn’t really take in what was happening. I thought it must be a glitch or mistake so closed the app and tried reopening. I was faced with the same message that the account was disabled.

I followed all the steps to try and recover the account and I expected I would eventually be able to log back in, change my password and carry on as usual. I was wrong. I tried accessing my account on a browser and I was faced with the same message. I clicked the link from my blog to my instagram profile and it said the account didn’t exist.

Accounts can be disabled as a result of moderators taking down for inappropriate content/behaviour, an error, a hack or a violation of Instagram terms of use. I wasn’t aware that I had done anything to meet any of that criteria and I followed the steps to appeal the decision. On Monday 27th September, using a personal account not linked to my @petitepaulinastyle business profile, I could still find the account although none of the content was visible. By Tuesday 28th September, it was gone completely and out of a portfolio of 4,095 posts, all I’m left with are a couple of screenshots.

In those first few days through habit alone, I kept opening the app expecting to scroll through aimlessly before remembering what had happened. I used the app as a consumer as well as a creator and had a number of folders with saved outfit inspiration, places to visit, home decor ideas etc which were also gone. After a few days, I gradually forgot to venture to the app and found it quite liberating not being glued to my phone all day, every day.

In the midst of it all, I was surprised by how calm and unbothered I was. Sure it was an inconvenience and something I could’ve been doing without but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that important. There are far bigger things going on in the world and in life right now and this seems irrelevant in comparison.

I’ve always been focused on my blog as my primary platform. It’s the only thing I own outright and have 100% control over. I’ve been reluctant to focus all my efforts on other platforms that could cease to exist tomorrow which is why I create content for my blog and then simply share that content across other forms of social media. I can delve deep into the stats and conversions from my blog and analyse the data whereas Instagram provides very limited insights. Despite that, I had built a very small but loyal audience on the platform and of course I’m frustrated to have lost that in a split second. Some had been following from the beginning while others joined along the way. I met and had conversations with some really lovely people and that’s what I’ll miss most of all.

Losing my account has enabled me to view things from a different perspective. If the account was recovered, would I have continued as if nothing happened or would I have taken it as an opportunity to change it up? I don’t really know the answer but what I do know is that I’m not ready to create a new Instagram account just yet.