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What do I do if my Instagram Account has been Disabled?

EPGD Law Intellectual Property Law

Instagram reserves the right to disable accounts that it believes violate their Community Guidelines or Terms of Use without warning. Accounts that have been determined to be in repeated violation may be permanently removed.  So, what exactly are Instagram’s community standards and terms of use?

Community Guidelines and Terms of Use

Instagram’s community guidelines encompass a wide range of issues from respecting intellectual property rights, not sharing images containing pornography or other certain types of nudity, fostering meaningful and genuine interactions, and respecting other users of the social media platform.  One notable guideline is simply stated as “follow the law.”  Under this umbrella are examples such as not using the platform to show support for terrorism, organized, crime, or hate groups; offering sexual services; and buying and selling controlled goods such as firearms, tobacco, or alcohol.

While these all seem like reasonable guidelines, it is not uncommon for users’ accounts to be disabled without any indication as to why that action was taken. What should you do when your account has been disabled for no apparent reason?  Your first step should be filing an appeal with Instagram.

Instagram released a new appeals process in 2020 as part of Safer Internet Day on February 21.  Under the new process, users whose accounts have been disabled and have received a notification that their account will be deleted in 30 days, can file an appeal within the 30 days to have the decision to disable and delete that user’s account reviewed. This can be done by attempting to login to the platform and selecting “Request Review” when prompted.

Some users have reported having their accounts reinstated after being disabled due to copyright or trademark infringement allegations by uploading business documents showing that they are the owners of the businesses that they promote through the app.  However, while Instagram provides a review process, there is no guarantee that your account will be reinstated.  Instagram’s terms of use provide it with broad discretion in determining to disable or delete user accounts.  For example, as part of their Terms of Use, Instagram states the following:

“We can remove any content or information you share on the Service if we believe that it violates these Terms of Use, our policies (including our Instagram Community Guidelines), or we are permitted or required to do so by law. We can refuse to provide or stop providing all or part of the Service to you (including terminating or disabling your account) immediately to protect our community or services, or if you create risk or legal exposure for us, violate these Terms of Use or our policies (including our Instagram Community Guidelines), if you repeatedly infringe other people’s intellectual property rights, or where we are permitted or required to do so by law.

Thus, while Instagram provides Community Guidelines and Terms of Use for its users to follow and adhere to, Instagram has broad discretion in determining when a violation warranting disabling or deleting an account has taken place.  Instagram need only believe that your account is in violation of its terms or guidelines for such action to be taken.  While Instagram provides an avenue to its users to review and appeal decisions to disable or delete user accounts, there is no guarantee that the matter will be resolved successfully.  In fact, there is no guarantee that the user will even be able to obtain any more information on the issue or that the user will ever be provided the opportunity to respond to the alleged violation.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.
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