If you follow our Instagram account, you'd know that in early March our account was suddenly disabled. There was no warning and ironically it happened right after I connected the Instagram account to our Facebook Page so that I could run ads and set up Shoppable Instagram. It took me 41 days to regain access to the account and I wanted to share what I tried, what worked and what didn't in case any of you are facing the same issues.
During the 41 days, I tried a whole lot of things to try and get my account back and there was only one thing that worked. Long story short, I "created" a utility bill so that I can prove I was the owner of the account in order for Facebook to review my account. Every time I sent an appeal through their system, I always got the following email from them:
I tried explaining to them that all of these documents were impossible for me to submit because Bru's Bows is a side hustle and not a formally registered company, I pay taxes as part of my personal income tax, and I don't have bills. I even sent them extensive documentation linking sales from this website going into my bank account as an alternate form of proof.
No dice. They just emailed me back requesting the same impossible documents and refused to review (even take a peek) at my account before I did. 🤯🤬 I mean, at this point I should have realized that Facebook's appeal (or even blocking/disabling) process doesn't function based off common sense and I should have just created their requested documents sooner...but I still had hope that I could resolve this the honest way. So here are the things I tried to do but ultimately did not work:
1. Reached out to Instagram employees - I DMed Head of Instagram (@mosseri), COO of Instagram (@justinosofsky), and a writer/producer for Instagram (@oscarraymundo) to explain the situation but I never heard from them and to this day I don't think the messages have ever been read. While browsing their feed, I saw a lot of other people leaving comments about their accounts being blocked/disabled and asking for help. So I guess Instagram employees are either (1) unfeeling bots, or (2) too used to seeing these comments/messages so too jaded to care. I get they're probably all busy and don't have time to deal with these types of comments but it boggles my mind that accounts being shut down for no reason isn't a concern for them. I guess they rely on the fact that they don't have a direct competitor so users will eventually create a new account and get over it or find a way to get their account back. 😒 #Antitrust much?
2. Tagging @instagram and @facebook on a post with my other account and having followers vouch for the account's authenticity/ownership. While this did not help get my account back, I was really touched by all the accounts reaching out to support me. 💕💕 Thank you to all that commented/shared the post.
3. Reached out to a hacker. As mentioned in #1, there were a lot of comments on the Instagram employee's accounts from people that were facing the same issues and I came across one account recommending a hacker that could help unlock your account. I contacted him and he explained what he would do but the fee was $100 😳 Bru's Bows doesn't make THAT much money so I couldn't justify paying for this and I was a bit wary of this process in general.
4. Run an ad on Facebook so I could have access to chat support. So up until I did this, the communication was Facebook/Instagram was pretty one-sided. The only responses I got from them were the auto-response emails they sent me requesting impossible documents after I submit an appeal form. I was convinced there weren't any REAL people working there. A couple people reached out and said that they were able to get their account reactivated after speaking with chat support, but the only way to access chat support was to run a paid ad. So I ran an ad on Bru's Bows Facebook Page and after 24-hours, VIOLA!! I was able to talk to a real human (maybe?) behind Facebook's BOTwall.
In total I talked to four representatives and though they all were very nice/polite, the information I received was (1) a bit useless and (2) contradictory. Each time I contacted them, they would direct me to the appeal forms and after I explained how I get routed to the "impossible document" request each time, they just tell me to be patient and try to explain my case. Ummm yeah, tried that and it failed. #thankyounext