After RELENTLESSLY trying to get Instagram’s help (and 50+ emails later), I finally got a real person to “look into it” for me, who responded it was DELETED and could not be recovered. I was devastated.
Years of hard work, gone.
I’m not sure if it’s because I was drumming up unwanted attention to Instagram, but I replied with an email of how could this have happened and received no response.
I wasn’t the only one.
I connected with numerous other influencers who had their accounts hacked. Some were luckily enough to get their accounts back. The ones who did either knew someone high up in Facebook, or recruited a cyber-security firm quickly enough to resolve it.
My new friend @vevianvozediano (who had 125k) and I weren’t so lucky. We did everything we could. Filed a report with Instagram only to get an automated response and dismissal at least 20+ times, I had all my friends and family repost my story tagging Instagram and Facebook (which worked for @brainsoverblonde, Instagram fixed her account in less than 24 hours without saying a word but that was a month prior, which begs the question, WHY IS THIS STILL HAPPENING?), but we were just SOL.
I even had three news organizations cover the story: Fox31/Channel 2 Denver, Motherboard on VICE, and The Denver Post. It wasn’t until a reporter from the Denver Post got a response from Instagram from her inquiry, (I even also emailed their press email; which was never even opened).
All just to have them FINALLY respond a month later, saying it was gone.
To me, that’s bullshit.
Instagram needs to be accountable to their users
To have a large platform as big as Instagram, and for them to get away with not claiming any sort of responsibility for it and straight up NEGLECTING their users just dumbfounds me. They practically AVOID helping their users at all costs. No real person to contact whatsoever. No phone number. Just hoping your email somehow reaches a real person (which doesn’t seem to happen often.)
Social media is still a fairly new frontier, but it is real. These accounts aren’t just like cute little scrapbooks. They are ACTUAL business assets (not only as a platform, but many businesses use it for leads for building all sorts of relationships). There are actual monetary damages when these accounts can be deleted so easily.
There are even rumors Instagram is looking to monetize more now that the original founders are gone (in which, they need to actually SUPPORT their creators instead of just hiding). Yet they act like it’s not their problem and there’s nothing they can do. But it IS their problem, and there are EASY solutions!
My problem could have easily been avoided
I feel like this could have easily been avoided if the following was done:
1) Instagram actually had a PHONE NUMBER to call. I can’t think of any other billion user company that doesn’t have a phone number to call and get ahold of a real person who could help you. Maybe they could have helped me if someone actually paid attention to me when I reported it (which was the day of)!
2) Not deleting profiles immediately! Facebook, the company that bought out Instagram years prior, for the longest time would never even DELETE your account! Ever! It was in a perpetual state or deactivation, where they hoped you would give in and hop back on eventually. These accounts that have been deleted were already on the servers, so why can’t Instagram postpone immediate deletion especially when they KNOW people are getting hacked?
The accounts already exist. They’re on the servers already. Instagram is making money and clout from influencers using their platform. Why can’t they protect them when it’s so easy?
Why can’t they just postpone permanently deleting years of work for a few months? And have actual support?
They opened a new frontier, and now they avoid responsibility in ways that could be easily addressed. I don’t just want answers, I want change and protection for people who use Instagram for business.
I want to set a precedent for protection for a new age of digital entrepreneurs.
What you can do to protect yourself
Instagram quietly released a new security feature (AFTER our hacks, and without an announcement… ) that is two-factor authentication with an authentication app (like google authenticator). They already had two-factor auth with a phone number, but with the authenticator app that is MORE SECURE than the-factor auth with a phone number (which hackers have and still can get around if they’re determined enough). So if you’re reading this, go turn that on NOW.
You can find it using this path after you login to Instagram:
Settings -> Two-Factor Authentication -> Authentication App
You’ll have to download Google Authenticator. But it’s much more secure that the phone number authentication.
But more importantly, if Instagram won’t protect us, as much as it is a great platform in terms of reach, it would be wiser to focus on your own website that you own and control. Easier said than done in this digital world, I might add.
@TheAdventureBitch account update
As I’m sure some of you have noticed, I am back on Instagram as @TheAdventureBitch.
HOWEVER, it is not my original account. I had another account I was building up under @LuxuriousTravelers that was a luxury travel reblog account (that actually had more followers but I was not monitizing) but I had reposted some of my own photos so I kept those and archived all the photos that weren’t mine.
If I was going to be back on Instagram, I would rather take over this account than start all over. So I’ve taken that account over since about late September, after I realized I wasn’t getting my original account back. So you can find me again as @TheAdventureBitch.