Q. Two weeks ago, our business Instagram account disappeared without warning. I spent a day trying to find a customer service contact and finally resorted to submitting a support request. Other than an automated response from Instagram asking for our business credentials, no one contacted us. I resorted to posting about the situation on my personal Facebook page, asking for internal contacts at Instagram. Our account was restored after two days, but I am not sure if it was Instagram proper or the friends of friends behind the scenes.
As Instagram and small businesses grow, I do not see the service side of Instagram for business clients improving at all. What technical support resources are available for business customers who are also paid Instagram advertisers?
A. Over the past few years, scores of Instagram users — among them small-business users — have reported that their accounts on the photo-sharing social media app have simply vanished. The reasons for the disappearing act may include accidental deletion after a technical malfunction on the Instagram side, deliberate removal by someone with the account password, hacker activity, other users reporting an account for violations of Instagram’s terms of service or potential abuse of those reporting tools. Photos have also been known to disappear if a user temporarily deactivates and reactivates an account.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is a free service for most users and does not currently have a dedicated team of technical support professionals readily available by telephone, chat or email as you find with commercial software, like Microsoft Office 365. While this situation has frustrated both its personal and professional users, Instagram says that it recognizes that many people depend on the service for business purposes and that it wants to address concerns. The company has indicated that as its platform evolves, as do the questions from the user community, it continues working to update its resources accordingly.
As for support resources available now for those who need them, the site provides the Instagram Help Center online and the business section of the Facebook Help Center. You can also post questions in the Facebook Community Forum for advertisers. A page devoted to troubleshooting login issues and a feedback form about sign-in problems are also available for those who still have accounts but cannot get into them.
Some users who were unsure of why their accounts disappeared reported them as hacked to Instagram and said the accounts were restored after a day or two. The Help site has information on what to do if you think your account was compromised (and how to better protect it), and suggests using the Instagram mobile app to request aid in restoring it.
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