Protecting your Instagram account: 4 ways to keep your page open for business

April 6, 2021 | Wayne Logan, John-David D’Souza, Alissa Ricioppo

Social media platforms like Instagram are an excellent tool for running an online business. However, conducting your business through Instagram raises a serious risk: account deactivation.

Anyone who has experienced a mistaken Instagram account deactivation and tried to appeal it knows the road to reactivation is difficult and frustrating to navigate – and there is no guarantee of success at the end of it.

If you are the owner of an Instagram business account, read on for several tips and tricks that we recommend including in your “Anti-Deactivation Toolkit”.

Know the rules

Instagram’s procedures for screening accounts and identifying which ones to disable will probably always be a mystery to its users. But one thing anyone can access is Instagram’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines. When a user’s access to their account is disabled, they are usually notified that the reason for the deactivation was due to a violation of these Terms of Use.

In our experience, accounts can be mistakenly deactivated even where there has been no violation of the Terms of Use. However, by familiarizing yourself with Instagram’s Terms of Use and making sure you follow them at all times, you can counteract the risk of your account being disabled for an actual violation.

Instagram takes intellectual property rights seriously. The violation of other peoples’ rights, which is against the Terms of Use, is an oft-cited reason for account removal. To make sure you are not violating any intellectual property rights on your account, make sure you only post content (i.e. photos, videos) that you created or have the creator’s permission to use. If you are using Instagram for an online business involving the sale of brand-name goods, make sure you state clearly what your authentication processes are, avoid using trademarked brand names in hashtags, and make it clear that you are not affiliated with the brands you sell. Including this information in your bio and posts can prevent reports of selling counterfeit goods or trademark infringement on your account.

Be prepared

In the event your account is deactivated, it is important to have as much evidence as possible to support your appeal to Instagram. Examples of information you can use to support your request for deactivation include documentation showing the legitimacy of your business, proof of your techniques for verifying the authenticity of the products you sell, and a screenshot of your account before it was deactivated.

Persist

Instagram offers a variety of appeal portals that Instagram users can utilize when their accounts are mistakenly deactivated. Some portals are for appeals generally. Examples of more specialized appeal portals include ones specifically intended for businesses or for cases when an account is disabled due to alleged intellectual property infringement.

It may be advisable to appeal through more than one of Instagram’s appeal portals and more than one time on each. Being persistent in your appeal methods ensures your appeal is visible to Instagram and does not get lost in the sea of other requests for reactivation that Instagram receives on a daily basis.

Persistence in your appeal also means not being afraid to hit “Reply” on the emails you receive from Instagram. When you make an appeal, Instagram will send a confirmation email indicating that they are looking into the issue. They may follow up with a generic explanation that your account was deactivated for a violation of the Terms of Use.

The vagueness and generic quality of these messages lead users to believe that they are auto-reply messages that one cannot respond to. In actuality, you can reply. In fact, Instagram will sometimes ask users to reply to these emails to provide further information to assist the investigation of an appeal.

In addition to submitting several appeals through several routes, replying back to Instagram’s messages to follow up on the status of your appeals increases your appeals’ visibility to the Instagram team.

Be patient

This tip for your toolkit may be the hardest to put into practice. It can be very frustrating when your legitimate business is put into limbo due to being mistakenly flagged for violating Instagram’s Terms of Use.

It is important to remember that Instagram is a massive platform. There is no way it can be perfect in screening and flagging accounts to be deactivated and it would be extremely difficult for Instagram’s employees to give personal attention to each appeal they receive.

During the appeal process, you may not get a detailed answer as to what you did “wrong,” you will usually get auto-replies from Instagram, and you will have to wait. It might feel unfair or like you are not being heard or recognized as an individual whose livelihood depends on the success of your appeal. Patience is a key part of the process.

Conclusion

Like any social media channel, growing your brand on Instagram opens the door to many benefits and opportunities but the risk of account deactivation can deliver a serious blow to your online presence. Developing your own Anti-Deactivation Toolkit using the guidelines in this article puts you in a better position to mitigate the risk of deactivation and to achieve reactivation when necessary.

Miller Thomson has experience in successfully assisting clients through the process of account reactivation and, in this article, we relay some of the lessons we have learned along the way. With this information, you can rest easier knowing you are more protected from the threat of account deactivation and that you have concrete steps to follow in the unfortunate event that you do experience it. Speak to a member of our team if you’d like some more information on protecting your social media accounts from deactivation and appealing any arbitrary deactivation of your accounts.

Disclaimer

This publication is provided as an information service and may include items reported from other sources. We do not warrant its accuracy. This information is not meant as legal opinion or advice.

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