There’s been a lot of uproar about the changes that Instagram has been going through. Forcing the reels down our throats, ignoring the needs of creators who have been using the platform for years and some relying on Instagram as their primary source of income, and generally becoming an incompetent piece of software. That’s the beginning of it, but that’s not where we predict the end of Instagram. Let’s break this down.
Demise of Photography
This may be the least offensive step in the wrong direction for Instagram yet still completely offensive. It was almost an overnight decision that made photography obsolete on the platform. While some have content entirely based on still images, Instagram didn’t take this into account at all, they just followed TikTok’s path like blind sheep. This made growing on Instagram close to impossible for millions of users. For some, even getting into the eyes of their existing followers became a challenge. This makes Instagram’s prerogative pretty clear, this is a one way relationship.
Choking on Reels
As if it didn’t take enough hours in our day before but now with the newly invented pressure to provide reels in exchange for visibility. Instagram is taking over our lives. If you follow leaders in the world of social media such as @broch11johnson you’ll quickly get a sense of how much pressure on creating reels the new world of Instagram is now applying on users. There’s even a viral audio saying “I haven’t made a reel in a couple days, Instagram says that I have to keep making reels to grow. So here’s your reel. Ta-da!” A couple more in circulation are, “Instagram is telling everyone to make reels, but I’m a rebel. So here’s a photo as a reel.” and “So this is what it’s come to. Y’all want reels every day? Fine. I’ll give you reels, but I ain’t gonna dance though.”
Zero Customer Service
With thirteen years under their belt, Instagram has users who have spent an incredible amount of time and work building their accounts. Some of these accounts have immense power, influence and followers. In the past month, I’ve personally had three accounts deleted by Instagram. Before you start assuming the worst, there was no funny business. The accounts had very subdued content. I went through all the steps to properly set it up, secure them, and start building them. Randomly, I get a deactivation message, again, go through all the proper steps for retrieving it and never hear back. In fact, after countless steps of troubleshooting and attempts to reach anyone at Instagram, the accounts disappeared….forever. No explanation, no response, nothing.
A lot of people will think, well, Instagram has must have billions of users. There is no way they could help with so many people. The facts, Instagram has 1.21 Billion users and Apple has 1.8 Billion users. Apple manages to make customer support available for every one of those users. Takes plenty of precautions to help their users with any kind of troubleshooting, hacks, technical support and more. Instagram does not have a human available for any purpose whatsoever. Their faulty bots are built in a way to never solve a problem beyond bringing you to the same useless help page.
The Real Danger
Hackers are going to be the nail in the coffin for Instagram. I was recently helping a hotel build their Instagram page until a hacker took over the account. They began to receive messages from the hacker attempting to extort them for money. The conversation continued and progressed into attempts to extort sexually with nude videos. With full control of the account, the hacker was able to charge money to the card filed for boosted posts. We tried everything! Including multiple attempts of facial recognition, support requests, hacks from youtube videos, article upon article of different methods, filed an FBI report, they called in a professional in the field of retrieving hacked accounts, and many more. All failed. But not only failed, it was a vicious cycle of dead-ends.
It was determined that the only remaining method would be to find someone internally at Facebook or Instagram to help with the situation. The beacons were sent out and reached maybe 25 people with close connections to Facebook/Instagram. I had some close friends in powerful positions go up to bat for me and none of their contacts would respond. I had one friend reach out to his network of 56 executive silicon valley recruiters. Most with direct connections to one of these companies and nobody was able to help. We even connected with the husband of one of the top 5 executive’s of Facebook and we got nothing. After attempts above and beyond the average Joe, we still resulted with nothing.
Just start a new Instagram account? They did. After one week, the new account was arbitrarily deactivated. Who knows, there was never a response from Instagram about the deactivation or the hack. The new account was never retrieved and never to be seen again. The damage? The hotel lost 70% of their bookings that month. They are rebuilding their page from scratch for the third time. They lost all the value of previously boosted posts, tons of content, still didn’t know what the hacker is capable of doing with the account in his control, including scamming other followers or potential guests. Musical guests and other potential partners didn’t take them seriously with this faulty Instagram account.
Generally, once you deal with a situation like this you start to realize how badly they F’ed up both Facebook and Instagram with bugs and glitches. Amongst the attempts to retrieve the account there were moments when there were five windows inside each other of Instagram attempting to log into Facebook and Facebook attempting to log into Instagram. A log in inception. Facebook requested a code from the code generator which is no longer a tool Facebook provides. The cycle of requests and links to the same link was endless and a frustrating nightmare.
A Hacker’s Playground
Hacker’s are incredibly aware of how vulnerable Instagram is at this moment. There is no support, no security measures and no human available for any type of assistance. Instagram is a playground for hackers and the extremes in which they can take it can literally ruin someone’s life and business. Legally, the fact that Instagram is harboring and nurturing a breeding ground for identity fraud and extortion with no protocols to protect its users is going to be means for an eventual shut down. As the cases pile up on the desk of the FBI, one can only hope that eventually a regulation will be set to protect users from life changing scams and fraud.
What can you do?
First thing is assume that the worst can happen. How would losing your Instagram account affect you and your work? What if you thought you knew people who could help and they don’t or can’t? What if there is no other option but to let the hacker do what he wants with your Instagram account? Here are a few tips for prevention and recourse:
- Use an authenticator app for security
- Save your backup codes somewhere secure
- Be very careful who you allow into the Instagram- employees, etc.
- Report to the FBI even if they don’t respond. REPORT HERE.
- Document everything.
- Make sure you have access to the accounts original phone and email that you started the account with.
- Don’t talk to strangers.
There is an epidemic of hacking happening as we speak, please don’t assume it can’t happen to you. Don’t wait till it happens to realize how useless Instagram is with helping you. The only protection you have is to try to prevent it.
If you have also been hacked or wrongly deactivated by Instagram. Please share your stories with us!
Photo By Clint Patterson via Unsplash