Much to their horror, several Instagram users who tried to open the app on Monday were instead shown a page that said, “We suspended your account on October 31, 2022.”
The warning page also asked them to seek a review of the suspension within 30 days. Soon after, baffled users began posting screenshots of the notifications on other social media platforms.
What caused the outage?
A pesky bug was reportedly behind Instagram accounts getting “suspended” en masse. “We’ve resolved this bug now – it was causing people in different parts of the world to have issues accessing their accounts and caused a temporary change for some in number of followers. Sorry!” the platform tweeted apologetically.
How many were affected and for how long?
As per estimates by Downdetector, a tracker for outages online, 7,000 users faced issues in accessing their Instagram accounts around the same time that the platform acknowledged the “inconvenience”. In India, affected users reportedly crossed 900.
While it’s hard to zero in on the exact time frame, the Twitter handle of the Instagram Communications team confirmed the outage at 7:33 pm IST on Monday, 31 October, and the tweet informing that the accounts were back up was posted at 3:30 am on 1 November. This means that the outage lasted for eight hours at most.
What were the other issues faced by users?
App Crashing: After updating the iOS version of the app earlier that day, a Reddit user said that it had crashed and they had to switch to an Android device. “Too frightened to open Instagram on iOS if it keeps going,” the post added.
Followers Disappearing: With several thousand users getting suspended, accounts with large followings saw their Instagram clout briefly diminish. Celebrities like star football player Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 493 million Instagram followers, lost 3 million followers in a flash before returning to normal, The Verge reported.
Has this happened before?
Many times. Just last Tuesday, thousands of users (including in India) had reported that they were not able to send or receive messages through WhatsApp, which is also owned by Meta.
When does Instagram generally suspend or ban user accounts?
Accounts that don't follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines may be suspended. These guidelines prohibit content related to nudity and sexual activity, graphic violence, self injury, intellectual property, spam, hate speech, bullying, abuse, terrorism, human trafficking, and organised crime. Repeat violations can get you banned.
User accounts can be withheld from public view at the request of the government or law enforcement.
Suspicious activity like going crazy with the like or follow buttons can also land you in Insta jail. Sentences usually vary from 24 to 48 hours.
How to recover your account if it’s been disabled or suspended?
You can appeal against the decision and ask for a review by filling out a form that’s available on the Instagram Help Centre. After mentioning your username, provide additional details that could make your case to have your account reinstated. You can also request a review by opening the app and following the on-screen prompts.
How to recover your account if it’s been deactivated?
If Instagram says you’re a repeat offender of its guidelines, then you’ll have to fill out a form with your full name, username, email address, mobile number, and reasons why you should be replatformed.
There’s a separate form if your repeated strikes have come from sharing misleading content or infringing upon intellectual property.
All in all, there are multiple appeal processes available for users whose accounts have been temporarily disabled or permanently deactivated.
What if your Instagram account has been hacked?
That’s a different ball game altogether. There’s a web of instructions, some of which requires you to establish your identity by providing your email address, mentioning the sign-in device you used, and sending a video selfie of yourself at different angles.