If you’ve been getting locked out of your Instagram account lately and aren’t sure why, you’re not alone. We’ve been facing these Instagram account issues ourselves over the past few months and getting to the root of it has taken a lot of trial and error. We knew that if this was happening to us, it must be happening to other businesses too, so we decided to share what we’ve learned with you.
Instagram isn’t known for providing detailed information into why they lock or disable accounts, leaving many brands and content creators frustrated. Fortunately, these are usually just temporary blocks that pose no immediate threat to your account, but after too many incidents, Instagram may warn you your account is near suspension or termination. This can be scary given all the time and effort it takes to build a following.
Even though Instagram may not specifically tell you why your account is locked, we’ve tracked down a few of the most common reasons this happens, as well as some key things you can do to lower the chances of it occurring in the future.
Top Reasons Instagram Locks Your Account
- You’ve Broken Their Guidelines
Everything posted on Instagram must adhere to their Community Guidelines, so if any of your content has been walking the line lately, this might be your cue to dial it back. Common accidentally broken guidelines include reposting copyrighted material without permission or credit, content that depicts graphic violence (even when sharing footage of newsworthy events) or using any kind of engagement-boosting bots, such as purchasing likes or followers.
Chances are you haven’t been breaking rules left and right, but give your feed a good scroll anyway just to make sure none of your recent content could have been misinterpreted.
- You’re Using Too Many Different IP/MAC Addresses
When you log in to Instagram, the app detects not only your IP address (aka, your general location), but also your MAC address (aka, the type of device you’re currently using). If, for example, your social media team is scattered across the country like ours is, Instagram may interpret your login behavior as suspicious and temporarily block you for it.
- They’ve Detected Spam-like Behavior
Instagram is pretty on top of identifying spam accounts, but unfortunately, sometimes real accounts get caught up in the mix. If your account is engaging in too much of pretty much any action, you’re likely to be flagged as spam. This includes liking posts, leaving comments, following or unfollowing accounts en masse, etc. If you engage in this type of behavior, Instagram could temporarily block you from doing these actions, or you could get temporarily locked out of your account.
Even if you don’t recall getting carried away in a like spree, be sure to check any third-party apps you may have connected as well to ensure they aren’t engaging in this behavior without your knowledge. If you’ve ruled that out, you can also check in with your team members and see if they’ve been using the app at the same time. In this case, you may want to schedule times for various team members to log in to limit the number of actions being taken at a time.
- You’re Using Third-Party Apps
Speaking of third-party apps, they can play a large role in your account getting flagged. As mentioned above, if any apps connected to your Instagram account are doing anything at an inhuman rate — especially following and unfollowing accounts — this alerts Instagram of bot-like behavior. Even using legitimate social scheduling software has triggered this alert for us!
Another reason you may get this message: Instagram wants to protect you from phishing on third-party sites. If your username and password are input into a site that Instagram thinks may be skimming your personal information, you’ll receive a pop-up upon login warning you that your account could be compromised and you should change your password.
How to Prevent Being Blocked
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Next time you open Instagram, plan ahead by making sure two-factor authentication is on. To check this, go into your Settings. Then, under Security, tap on Two-Factor Authentication and ensure that it’s been turned on and that the information you provided is still accurate.
While you’re there, tap on Additional Methods, then Backup Codes. Here, you’ll find a set of recovery codes that look like a random string of numbers. These codes are unique to you and each can only be used once, but they’re lifesavers if you get locked out of your account and have no way to authenticate via text or email. Screenshot these and keep them in a safe place, and do not share them with anyone outside of your social team.
*We obviously had to block out our own backup codes for security purposes, but we promise you’ll see them on the last screen underneath the big teal box!
- Remove Extra Devices
To check the list of devices currently logged in to your account, navigate again to Settings and then Security. Tap on Login Activity, and you’ll see a list (and map) of all the devices and locations your account was recently accessed from.
If you find a device that shouldn’t be there or someone forgot to log out, simply tap the three dots next to the device name to log them out remotely. If you’re spotting several unfamiliar devices on this page, update your password and continue monitoring to prevent future hacks.
- Remove Third-Party Apps
Since Instagram has a habit of flagging accounts that have third-party apps connected, removing them can sometimes resolve this issue. You can start by reviewing all of the apps connected to your account and removing any old or unauthorized ones.
To do this, under your Security settings, tap Apps and Websites. From here, you’ll have the option to disconnect any apps you wish. If you spot any unauthorized apps that were not connected by you or your team, change your password.
Unfortunately, even legitimate scheduling tools and grid planners can trigger a phishing message from Instagram. If you don’t see any old or unauthorized apps connected to your account, do your research and make sure any tools you’ve connected are verified and trustworthy. If it keeps happening frequently, try your luck with a similar tool.
- Limit Your Social Media Team’s Logins
As we mentioned above, logging in from too many different IP addresses or MAC addresses can cause Instagram to flag your account. If your marketing team is accessing your account from all over, consider streamlining the posting process to reduce that traffic. Perhaps designate one or two team members who do all the manual posting on the app, and have everyone else log out permanently. Sit down with your team and assess your posting needs, then figure out if you can limit the number of logins your account has on a daily basis, or create a schedule.
Many brands use Instagram DMs as a way to pitch and then communicate with influencers for their upcoming campaigns, which could pose an issue to streamlining your Instagram use. Thankfully, there’s a way to avoid Instagram DM pitching altogether. At Statusphere, we match your brand with influencers from our reliable network and get them ready to post about your products at the push of a button. No DMs, shipping or posts tracking required – we take care of it all. Click here to chat with one of our influencer marketing experts about your Instagram marketing goals and how we can help you meet them.