This is one of a series of posts that I created based on questions about the challenges of getting in touch with customer support teams from big social networks like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. The information below is specific to Instagram help. If you need help getting in touch with Facebook support, this is the post for you. If you need help from Pinterest support, check out this post.
I have gotten this question a few times and it’s a very tough one to answer, but I’ll give it my best shot.
Do you know of a good way to get in contact with Instagram support or their customer service department? I have lost access to my account and need to find out how to recover it. It looks as though someone hacked my account and then changed the email address. Because I can’t login or change the password, I’m stuck and I don’ t know how to get Instagram to help me get back in. I tried some of the help articles at the Instagram help center, but didn’t have much success.
Thanks for any help you can provide,
The simple fact is that big social media companies like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Snapchat just don’t want to be inundated with support requests. Imagine if a company like Instagram had to hire phone and email support personnel for questions like:
- My Instagram account was banned or blocked, what can I do to restore it?
- How do I reset my Instagram password?
- My Instagram has been hacked, what do I do?
- Does Instagram have a way to save groups of hashtags for reuse?
- I mis-typed my Instagram email and now I can’t access my account. What do I do?
- Someone is bothering me on Instagram, what do I do?
- Can I block my ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend on Instagram?
- Someone hacked my Instagram account and changed the email address, how do I fix it?
These questions and issues (and many like them) are soooo common that staffing a call center or customer support center to respond to those questions would require hundreds, if not thousands, of employees that just wouldn’t make fiscal sense for Instagram.
To combat this, they do their best to provide helpful responses to “frequently asked questions” so that Instagram users can help themselves solve problems.
Quick Note: Even though Instagram is technically owned by Facebook, it operates a separate support system from the Facebook support system. The tips below are specific to seeking help from Instagram support through the Instagram processes. If you need tips on contacting Facebook support, here is a different post that can help you out.
What Did I Do To Get My Instagram Account Blocked?
To be honest, Instagram is really cryptic about why they block or ban accounts, restrict access to activities (like liking and following), or even shadow-banning accounts. What I can tell you is that these activities will DEFINITELY result in your account getting penalized.
- Posting photos of women’s nipples – This is a HUGE deal for Instagram and they don’t really care whether you like it or not. They don’t tolerate it.
- Buying fake followers through online services – Instagram tracks unusual follower growth and the tend to ban first and ask questions later. Okay…they don’t ask questions, they just ban you with no explanation.
- Giving your credentials to online services – If the Instagram AI notices that you normally log in from the United States and suddenly an IP address from India or Croatia is accessing your account, then they are going to assume you were hacked or gave your credentials away and protect their network. They do this by banning or restricting your account.
You might get away with these activities for a while, but eventually the community will report you or Instgram’s AI algorithms will catch on and either restrict you or ban you.
Other than avoiding the activities above, it’s just a good idea to behave, don’t post questionable content (e.g. photos that include women’s nipples) and don’t hire companies to artificially inflate your followers. Just learn how to post quality photos and your following will grow.
But What If I Didn’t Do Any Of Those Things AND My Issue Is Not Covered In The Instagram FAQs?
Yeah, that’s where is gets difficult.
Instagram makes it nearly impossible to actually get someone on the phone or to respond to an email. Sure they set up a business support number, which according to GetHuman is (650) 543-4800.
Instagram also has a support email address, which is [email protected] but based on the feedback I have heard, good luck getting anyone to actually respond to you.
So, if you have an issue that you just can’t seem to resolve on your own, here are few options to try.
NOTE: If your Instagram account has been suspended or banned, I recently experienced the same thing with a new Instagram account that I was setting up. Not two seconds after I clicked the “Create Account” button, my account was banned. Luckily, I was able to navigate the Instagram support process to get it unlocked. Here are the steps I took, I hope they help you.
Tip #1 – Try Searching Through The Instagram Support Site
If you are reading this article, it’s probably because you have been trying to resolve your issue using the standard help articles on Instagram. If that’s the case, keep on reading.
If, however, you skipped going through the help articles to try to solve your issue, be sure to do that first. You can access quite a few issues and their resolutions at https://help.instagram.com/
Tip #2 – Try The Support Channels Above
Next, try the email address and/or customer support line I listed above.
I know, I just said that they probably won’t work, but things are changing on a daily basis at Instagram and maybe you’ll get lucky and catch someone who decides they want to help. Or maybe your email will catch their eye because it’s becoming a common issue and they want to add an entry in their frequently asked questions on the Instagram support site.
Even if it doesn’t work, you have followed the proper procedures and “checked the box” for trying to contact them through the channels that they have set up. Doing that can help you as you try some of the additional methods below.Trying to contact Instagram support can be a real pain. They rarely answer tickets or email support requests. There are some tips to try to get their attention, though. Click To Tweet
If you choose to send an email to Instagram support, just be sure not to use a generic email subject like “Request for Instagram Support”.
Instead, think of something that is very descriptive of your problem and will catch the attention of anyone who happens to glance at the Instagram support email. Be creative, something like “Incorrect email address associated with my account has locked me out of access”.
If someone sees that, the might think “hey…there are probable quite a few people who experience this issue, maybe we can add a support FAQ about it”.
Tip #3 – Report Your Own Profile
Yep…that’s right, call the Instagram police on your own profile. I know it sounds kinda crazy, but reporting a profile is something Instagram does take seriously, so it might get their attention.
Don’t believe me? Just try posting a photo of anything that even closely resembles a human, female nipple and you’ll find out very quickly how seriously Instagram takes reported profiles and photos.Want to get the attention of Instagram support quickly? Just post a photo of a human, female nipple on your profile. Click To Tweet
So, if you are having a problem accessing your account, it has been hacked, or you just need to get Instagram’s attention, try reporting your own profile.
The steps to report a profile (even your own) can be found here.
If you have lost access to your account, like Erica did, it might help to report the account so the spammer is locked out and can’t do any more damage while you work to recover access.
NOTE: You can use this link to go directly to a form to report someone hacking your account.
If You Have Access To Your Instagram Account, Here’s How To Report A Problem
1) Login to Instagram mobile app
2) Click the button in the lower-right that takes you to your Instagram Profile
3) Click the Gear icon in the upper-right corner to access the Instagram settings
4) Scroll down until you see “Report A Problem”
5) From the popup menu choose the option that most accurately represents your issue.
6) In the feedback form that is presented, type the information about your Instagram issue. Be accurate AND concise. Don’t write a novel, but give as many details as you possibly can.
7) Click the “Send” button to submit the contents of your Instagram support request form.
If You DON’T Have Access To Your Instagram Account, Here’s How To Report A Problem
1) Go to this page https://help.instagram.com/368191326593075/
2) Click “I think my Instagram account has been hacked” to open the subsection on the page
3) Report the account. You probably have done this if you followed tip #2 above.
3) Follow the steps that have you request a login link and verify your identity.
I will tell you that I know people who have tried this method and it took a week or so for Instagram to verify their identity. So be patient, hopefully reporting the account will stop a hacker from doing a lot of damage like deleting your photos.
If all else fails and you can’t get through the process to report the hack, try using this form to submit a hacking event.
Tip #4 – Use Your Social Network To Find A Contact
If you have tried the Instagram support phone number and their email address AND tried reporting your own profile to get a response, the next step would be to try to get in touch with someone at Instagram by using your social media connections.
Yes….your social network might be able to help you connect with someone else. That’s kinda the point of this whole social network thing, right?
So, to find someone in your network who works at Instagram, I would recommend using LinkedIn and searching for connections who work, or previously worked, at Instagram.
To do this:
2) In the search bar at the top of the screen, type “Instagram”
3) In the results that show up, click on “Instagram – Company Computer Software”
4) This takes you to the corporate LinkedIn page for Instagram
5) Click the link to see all employees who work at Instagram. This takes you to a page where you can see all people who have included Instagram as a current or past experience in the LinkedIn profile.
6) In the filter bar, choose to filter Connections” so it only shows your first and second level connections. Click Apply.
NOTE: If you think that you have a first-level connection with someone at Instagram, just filter on first level and that will show you who you know at Instagram.
7) Once you have applied the filter, you’ll see people in your network who are first or second-level connections. If you have a first-level connection, great…reach out to them to see if they can help.
8) If you don’t have a first-level connection, scroll through your connections to find someone with whom you have a lot of connections. In the image below, you can see that I have a second-level connection with someone at Instagram who shares 13 connections with me.
9) Click through to their profile and browse their experience to ensure that they actually have worked at Instagram or have a connection to Instagram. Be aware, that some people who are Instagram influencers might list Instagram as work experience.
This doesn’t mean they actually worked for Instagram, more that they partnered with them because they were considered to be “Insta-famous”. These folks might have a contact at the company to help you out, but it would be better to find someone who actually works at Instagram.
10) Keep scrolling through your contacts to find someone who might be able to help you.
11) Once you find a possibility, connect with them on Instagram. DON’T send them a request for support or spend a lot of time trying to explain why you need their help trying to get a contact at Instagram.
That’s a quick way to get your connection invitation deleted. Instead, send them a note, indicating that you have several connection in common and would be interested in connecting to discuss social media.
12) If/When they accept your connection request, reach out to them and thank them for connecting. At that point, be polite and ask if they might have a contact at Instagram who could help resolve your issue.
If they respond that they don’t, thank them and let them know you appreciate them adding you to their network.
13) Go back to step #1 and start again looking for another potential point of contact.
I know that sounds like a lot of work, but Instagram doesn’t make it easy to get past their walls, so if you really, really want to get in touch with someone, you’re going to have to work at it.
Tip #5 – Spend Some Money Through Facebook Ads
One think I know about social platforms is they have generally all become “pay-to-play” networks. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn…you’re really no one to them unless you spend money.
When you do start advertising with them, you get access to tools and contacts that you didn’t have before. Even running a single Instagram ad now puts you in a different category that might be able to get support a little more quickly than just a regular account.
For instance, a while back I ran an test Instagram ad for a client and it didn’t really perform as well as we had expected. So, we stuck with Facebook ads and chose not to continue running ads on Instagram.
About a year after that Instagram test, the client’s Instagram account was locked for no apparent reason. We tried the support number and email addresses with no results. Then, we decided to try sending a Facebook ad support request. While we never received a response from the Facebook ad team, the account was unlocked the next day.
Coincidence? Possibly. More likely someone at Facebook ads contacted someone at Instagram and asked them to unlock the account because we had a history of spending money with both Facebook and Instagram.
So, while it might not help you in your current predicament, it could give you a future support access point if you spend a few dollars with Facebook (or Instagram) through paid media ads.
In Summary – Getting In Contact With Instagram Isn’t Easy
By design, Instagram has made it tough to get in touch with them. If you need help, try all the FAQs on their support site, then try some of the recommendations above.
If you have a better way of getting in contact with Instagram support, I’d be really interested to hear it in the comments.
Also, let me know if you have had a nightmare experience with Instagram support. Maybe we can help each other solve some challenges getting in contact with the fine folks at Instagram.
Update #1 – Reporting Intellectual Properly Issues With Your Instagram Account
Great email feedback from one of my readers who asked if the same process outlined above is the right process if someone has stolen your photos or is trying to replicate your account and pretend they are you.
Hey Sean – Great info, just one question. I have noticed a couple of fake accounts that are stealing my photos and passing them off as their own. Is there are good way to report photo theft?
This form will walk you through reporting a copyright or trademark infringement. If someone is using your photos without your permission and you are the original creator of those photos, then they would be infringing on your copyright.
Hope that helps! Keep asking those questions and adding your feedback/experiences in the comments.
Update #2 – What About Having A Backup Account, Is That A Good Idea?
If you have been around Instagram for a while, you might notice that some of the bigger account have backup accounts. The idea is that if the primary account is suspended by Instagram, they user can always use their backup account to communicate with their fans. Then, once the primary account is back up and running they can resume posting to that account.
We must not have previously disabled your account for violation of law or any of our policies.
What this tells me is that you have a better standing with Instagram is you set up your second account before your first account is disabled. If you try to set it up after the primary account is disabled, they might suspend your second account, as well.
The nice thing is that the Instagram mobile app now allows you to manage multiple accounts, here are the instructions if you want to manage a primary and second account.
If you have a few Instagram followers, I’m not sure it’s worth the time and energy to maintain two accounts. If, however, you have thousands or hundreds of thousands, it might be a good CYA step.