Instagram Account Lock – Why it Happens and What to Do

In recent weeks, Instagram has cracked down on users who have violated their Community Guidelines. As a part of this process, Instagram casts a wide net around certain areas, so many users who have not actually violated anything are also getting an Instagram Account Lock notification. Here’s how to know if you have actually violated Instagram’s Community Guidelines and what to do if your account has been locked.

Is this caused by my subscription to SRD Social?

No. SRD Social is not a growth service because we do not actively engage “as you” on Instagram. This means that we do not follow, like, comment or send direct messages on your behalf. SRD Social provides content and automated posting services using methods that are 100% in line with Instagram’s Community Guidelines.

Why is Instagram locking accounts?

For the past few months, Instagram has had a big problem with users purchasing fake likes and followers. This can been done directly (the user themselves actually purchasing the fake likes/followers) but it’s more commonly done through subscribing to a “growth service”. These growth services promise to improve the success of their client’s Instagram profiles by giving them more followers, likes, comments and general interaction. While many of these services are not doing anything untoward, there are a few that purchase likes and followers for their client’s accounts to quickly increase the size of their following. This goes directly against Instagram’s Community Guidelines and can cause the Instagram account locks and even a complete ban from Instagram.

Here’s an example of what the Instagram account lock message might look like:

Why was MY Instagram account locked out?

First, we’d like to make it clear that this lockout does not mean that you have done something that goes against Instagram’s Community Guidelines. The beginning of the message says “It looks like…” so Instagram isn’t saying you have done something, they’re just saying it appears that you may have done something.

So, if you haven’t done anything wrong, why did you get the message?

When you access the internet, your device uses an IP address to identify you and your general location. Occasionally, a group of IP addresses, can be flagged as having been involved in spammy activity. The location of a specific IP address is not precise, and most IP addresses are shared (meaning it’s used by more than one person). Because of that, Instagram cannot be certain exactly where the potential “spammer” is or exactly who they are. In order to stop the potential spammer, Instagram will lock the accounts of anyone who uses a flagged IP address and/or is in a certain flagged area. Even just driving through a flagged area while Instagram is open can cause your account to get locked.

I haven’t purchased any followers or subscribed to a growth service, so what do I do?

All you need to do is change your password; this message is more of a deterrent than a notice of action. Their goal here is to prevent users from abusing the system. In fact, the Instagram Automation Abuse Team participated in a research paper which states that they have no intention of banning accounts that use Account Automation Services (AAS):

If you change your password then get locked out again, your account may have been hacked. Click here for instructions from Instagram on what to do if you think your account has been hacked.

What if I HAVE purchased likes or subscribed to a growth service?

Say that you have purchased likes or followers, so the Instagram account lock message is accurate – the only thing you can do is stop using the purchased likes/followers. If you have subscribed to a growth service, check to see if they are artificially collecting likes, followers, comments, etc. for your account. They should say exactly what they’re doing and how they’re growing your account – if they don’t (or if they come out and say they’re using artificially collected likes/followers) unsubscribe immediately and choose a different service. There is no quick way to grow your following on Instagram – it’s a slow process that requires a lot of work and dedication. While we’re talking about growing your Instagram, did you know that purchasing likes/followers can actually HURT your brand? Check out this article from AdEspresso by Hootsuite to learn why it can hurt your brand, and what to do instead.

Using Instagram is a great way to grow your business, but sometimes it can be troublesome! If you have any thoughts or questions about this article or would like to know how to grow your business using Instagram, reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.