It’s the moment that any business owner using Instagram as a marketing tool dreads. Your Instagram account has been deleted. And another account has taken your username!

Not just disabled (disabled Instagram accounts are apparently more retrieveable) but deleted.

This was my lot recently. Overnight it had disappeared and I couldn’t work out where or how to proceed.

I had 2 Factor Authentication turned on (see here for steps) so in theory I was harder to hack.Turns out I wasn’t. So for anyone faced with this situation this is what I did.

I already had Facebook Business Manager set up, so I could chat online to a real person. This was useful but they still couldn’t help me, as it was an Instagram Internal Team issue. They could tell that I had submitted an appeal and pointed me towards various links to try, including this one.

They said that I had violated Community Standards – I hadn’t, but you can read them here

What I found most difficult was actually reporting my deleted account. Particularly as the form requires you to input your Instagram @username. When your account is deleted, your url is no longer live so I couldn’t submit the form. I tried doing this about 20 times. Not sure if it did ever get sent.

Other suggestions, included the recommendation to email with my Instagram username, email and the phone number linked to the account. I was then asked to submit a photo of me holding open my passport so the photo was visible plus both hands showing and also holding a piece of paper with a supplied security code.

I asked all my friends, family and colleagues to report the fake account that took my user name (they are still using it on Instagram)

I read a lot of articles offering advice and suggestions about getting a deleted account back – most people had been unsuccessful in retrieving theirs.This prompted much soul searching about how I actually felt about mine and the lack of service support that Instagram offerered their customers.

Then out the blue, I received an email two days ago from Instagram, apologising for having deactivated (not deleted) my account and saying that it was all restored. No explanation given.

I now have my Instagram account back – ironically I can’t log in, due to a password issue but this should be easy to rectify. The other account however is still using my user name, which I’m now trying to report. I don’t understand how this is still happening.

So my advice?  Ensure you have 2 Factor authentication on, set up Facebook Business manager with an Ad Account too (not for the faint hearted- it’s a beast). My experience implies that the only way to actually talk to someone is via Facebook Ads chat, who at least could see that I had submitted an appeal.

Oh and try and keep useful business conversations off the app too, have them on email.

Good luck!