I got reminded how much centralized social media can suck - my Instagram got deleted

in blog •  8 months ago

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Yesterday morning I woke up to the realization that I don't have an Instagram account anymore. My profile was gone. No user with this username, no user with this email and worst of all no explanation.

I've never broken any of Instagram's precious rules, community guidelines and other BS and all I ever uploaded there were photos of flowers and nature and the occasional portrait - all of it my original work. I got no email from them, no warning, no explanation, no way to appeal and no way to get in touch. Somebody there flipped a switch and flushed everything I had built there down the drain. I'm furious!

While I didn't have a huge following there, the account was actually important to me as this was my main creative outlet in the past 2 or 3 years (I'm not even sure and there is no way to check now). Through Instagram I could reach a much wider audience than I'm reaching on places like Steemit or 500px and that meant something to me. Additionally, by losing the account I'm losing a ton of friendships, contacts, people I follow and admire and photographs.

I'm really happy that something like this cannot happen to me on Steemit, but I really wish I could recover my Instagram account as well.

I researched the topic and it seems that the only people who manage to get their accounts back are people who can reach an Instagram or a Facebook employee who could solve the problem from the inside. If anybody can help or knows a person who can help with that, I'm willing to pay for the service as long as I can get my account back.

Centralization does suck!

This is yet another example of how bad centralization can actually be. When you have a profile on a centralized platform like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you are left at the mercy of the owner and they can abuse you in whatever ways they like and there is nothing to do about it. Justice or fairness is by no means something they care about. To them we are just a product to sell to advertisers and even the simple thing of providing us a way to get in touch and ask for help or explanation is simply an unwarranted expense.

What's really infuriating is that you can still find my photos on their platform despite the fact that my account is gone. When somebody steals your intellectual property there, it's pretty much impossible to take it down and I still see people using my photo as an avatar there despite me having reported them. There are people with hundreds of thousands of followers there who are asking their followers to report abusers and intellectual property thieves who fail to take their photos down from the fake accounts. But my small account full of flowers and bokeh was for some reason deemed offensive and destroyed without an explanation or even a route to appeal.

When they control everything, they have the power to destroy whatever they want. I will not be surprised to learn that this was done by AI, not by a human (as a human would have never banned my account). In the recent days I was regularly getting crazy engagement (at least for my modest standards) and that might have ticked off their algorithms. And since they have so many users, they really don't mind sacrificing a ton of decent people and their accounts to supposedly get rid of abusers.

Well, at least I now have an account that cannot be taken away and cannot be muted or deleted here on Steemit. Hopefully someday, there will be as wide of an audience for me here as there was on Instagram. I would love to see Mark Zuckerberg and his cronies fail! Decentralization is the future.


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So what was the issue? What kind of stuff did you post on there?

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I still don't have the slightest clue what the issue might have been. What I used to post on Instagram was the exact same type of stuff that I post here, mainly photos of flowers. I really don't think I ever posted anything that might have been offensive in the slightest. The most annoying part is that they haven't even told me that my account was disabled due to violations, all I see is "Error. This account does not exist."

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Well that really sucks... :(

Well it is time to go full steemit :) That is the right way :) I am sorry for what happened. But I am always happy to see :) A Fellow Bulgarian Around :)

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You are absolutely right and I support you. However in that specific case I just don't know how to help you. I suppose you have tried to connect in instagram through facebook profile. If my information is correctly instangram is a property of a facebook. Honestly... I don`t like both of them and the things you said are some of the reasons.

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Thanks for the support. I really hate them all, but they are just where most people are. My Facebook profile was actually already connected, but this doesn't seem to be making any difference.

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I understand. This is really very very unpleasant situation.. But I hope to continue to share yours brilliant works.By the way happy Liberation Day.(Sorry if this expression is wrong)

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Maybe it's Independence Day? Happy national holiday whatever the correct way to say it in English is :)

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Thank you very much :)

Your work will not be lost if you have backup... but contacts :-/ ... unfortunately when you made your acount, there was agreements and one of them is about property of content which you share... 7 years ago I heard story how facebook sold some pictures of one artist...

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I have the images, but all the contacts and all the people I follow there and all the people that were following me are gone now and it's really frustrating. But yeah, when we sign up we agree to their ToS and that's that, they control everything and can do whatever the hell they want without giving us any explanation or warning. Doesn't make it any less frustrating of course, but that's life for you.

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Do you have any new information about your acount? Why they canceled it?

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Nope, not really. They don't provide any info to you and there is no real way to get in touch with them.

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That is bad... :-(

I'm sorry to hear you got screwed over by them :-( I'm in the process of deleting my 'old' social media accounts since I too believe in the future of decentralized social media. I'll keep my Instagram live for a while, but I'm about to remove content from Facebook and tell my friends and family they should follow me here - I'm curious if a few are willing to follow me ;-)

I hope you'll find your way back to your profile. It's horrible to realize that you have lost many hours and contacts thanks to them now.

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It's really annoying and do feel screwed over, that's really a very good way to put it. I'm still on other social media because the majority of people are still there and I actually enjoyed Instagram, but this is a huge red flag already. If you look at their official Twitter, most of the comments they are getting are people asking them why their accounts were deleted. Of course, they aren't answering anybody.

Oooph, that's a punch to the gut. I hope you can get it back! I'm sorry I don't have any contacts to help, but keep trying! :(

The worst part about this is when it happens randomly, or seemingly randomly, and they never tell you the reasons. We could forgive a lot if there was at least an attempt at transparency.

Sometimes I feel like Google (Youtube) and Facebook are conspiring to undermine their own networks and push people to find alternatives. They aren't running like businesses anymore with profit as the first priority. If they were, they might be more concerned about the users.

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Yep, a punch in the gut is a very good way to put it.

I think they feel that any transparency will put them in a weaker position or something like that. They don't want you to know what's OK and what isn't and tiptoe the line, they want you to cower in fear of their power.

Of course, as you pointed out, that's only going to make them weaker as people will start searching for alternatives (and they are).

But they are actually operating as business. Proper support takes a lot of man hours and those cost money. And after all, the users are not their customers, for them we are just the product and they still feel that a few feathers ruffled unjustly here and there are not a big enough of a deal to justify more expenses or attention. They would rather clean overzealously with the least amount of investment and have a few unfair casualties, but have their advertisers happy than giving people due process.

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That's a good point, many of these problems (and I'm guessing your account removal was one) are created by overzealous bots with flawed metrics and not enough oversight, and people like you are being caught up in an oversensitive spam filter.

This is a digression, but my point about not operating as a business was more directed at recent actions by Youtube (though Facebook has been accused of similar censorship and lack of transparency in the way they curate people's feeds), where they've been demonetizing or removing accounts that don't appear to break the terms of service but do apparently fall into some undocumented list of things that Youtube finds unacceptable. Some very high profile Youtube accounts have fallen foul of this and haven't been able to get answers or resolution from Youtube when they try to contact them (this has been happening for a long time but seems to have ramped up recently), which leads one to conclude that the problem is not a random issue with indiscriminate bots (easily fixable, especially for large channels) but more likely part of an idealogical design from management. They're smart enough to know that driving off large channels (who have enough influence to help grow competing networks) isn't good for business, so I would conclude that business is not their #1 priority.

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Even on YouTube, creators are still not the real business, but more like the product that is being sold to advertisers. My guess would be that they are trying to clean up in a way that would allow them to attract better paying advertisers as many spenders don't want to advertise on places that are not "pristine". I think Google in general have lost a lot of advertisers in the past year and now with less money to go around, they might be trying to get back into the market by elevating the quality of the content that gets ads by making the standards higher and cutting out a lot of the content. I think they are still acting like a business, but like a business that is in trouble and is looking for ways to get back into the game. Not a good sign for them. Hopefully a very good sign for decentralization.

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Possibly that is the reasoning and the motive. For the sake of everyone, I hope you are right, but I don't think it will work out well for them all the same.

Any luck getting your Instagram account back?

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Oh, I don't think it's going to work them that well either.

And nope, I haven't gotten my account back and I even created a new one.

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That's awful and disappointing. I'm sorry! :(

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Thank you, I appreciate that. After all, that's life, nothing I can do.

Hope your account will be recovered anyway...

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Thank you! Unfortunately, I'm not too hopeful anymore.

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Yeah, that's odd from their view. They must recover it by any means.

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All I've gotten are non-human form letters from them. I think they just don't care and wouldn't want to invest any resources into providing any usable support and I'm too unimportant to get their attention anyway.

I've had to rebuild my social media presence a few times over the years. Sites shut down, you find yourself shadowbanned for no reason other than you followed someone that others don't like, it happens. It sucks, but them's the breaks. Best thing at this point is to move forward.

I'll throw you a couple upvotes if you stay posting pics here...

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It sucks indeed, but that's life for you. As I said in the post, centralization exposes you to this type of stuff like it or not.

You bet, I'm going to keep posting here. Nobody can delete my account here and there are earnings on top of that. That's so much better than Instagram in that sense. The only thing Instagram has that still beats steemit for me is the sheer amount of people I can reach and I want my pics to be seen by people. But I'm staying here for sure.

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Try Steepshot if you haven't already.

https://steepshot.io

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I've seen them, but I prefer another photography posting interface - @bescouted.com. The good thing here is that whatever interface I use to post, it's still publishing on the same blockchain and anybody can see it. I think that's pretty cool.

I'm sorry! Could it be a technical error? I hope it is and your account returns to you

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Thank you! I guess it could be a technical error too. The worst part about it is that I have no info about it at all. I still hope I somehow get it back too.

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Did you try this? They are suggesting that it may help if you turn on the Two-Factor identification and log back in your account
https://thepreviewapp.com/instagram-deleted-photos-account-disappeared-whats-happening/

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Maybe it got hacked? That has happened with a lot of people, and they usually experienced the same as you seem to do now. I really hope you get it back!