The story of our lost Instagram account, or in other words, the algorithm is not your friend.
Having an Instagram (or any online) account removed is not normal, nor ok. If it happens, it should only happen for a very good and specific reason. The same is true for disease. Being sick and having a disease(s) is not normal, and we need to stop looking at it that way. Health and vitality are normal. You have to act accordingly, but this is true in all of life. Want a good relationship? Take ownership of your behaviour, feelings, words and actions, and you will likely have/get one.
The thing is, if you have ownership, you have agency. This is not the case with a social media account. You create it, you “own” it, but you have no agency over its existence. This is not only a problem in a practical sense but also in an ethical and moral sense.
Let me break down the details so you can get the whole picture.
a) Out of the blue
You try to log into your account and get a message that says something along the lines of:
“Your account has been disabled because of a breach of our community guidelines. Request a review to prevent your account from being permanently disabled.” No prior communication, nothing.
b) The review process
You follow the review process. For that review, you are instructed to request a code. That code you need to write onto a piece of paper, along with your account name and related email address. Then you are told to hold that piece of paper next to your head and take a selfie (while also making sure that your hand shows). Said selfie you need to send in as your review request. That is it.
I am not making this up! You also cannot provide any further information, nor can you ask any questions. Here is said selfie (yes, I am not happy).
Does that remind you of anything? Either way, it feels humiliating and puts you in a beggar position.
c) An unpleasant surprise
A couple of days later, you make another login attempt. You are now presented with this note: “Your account has been permanently disabled because it didn’t follow our Community Guidelines. This decision can’t be reversed either because we’ve already reviewed it or because 30 days have passed since your account was disabled. Learn more about why we disable accounts in our Community Guidelines.”
d) Other options
If you do some digging, you will find two links which allow you to request a review (one on Facebook and one on Instagram). You fill in the information on those (and OMG, this time they even allow you to put a message in). But when you hit that submit button, you get this message:
e) Other channels
If you look some more, you find no support channel other than for app issues or for reporting someone else, but you need an account for that. There is also an abandoned firstname.lastname@example.org address. No luck here, either.
f) Out-of-the-box thinking
If you are persistent like I am, you think of something else. Ahh, maybe contact someone on the inside?! So I reach out to a few Instagram employees I found on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, this didn’t yield any results either.
g) Talking to a support person via FB
A friend mentioned trying to contact Facebook business support. Okay, I might as well try. After all, I probably spent around 200hrs (or five 40hr weeks) to create our account over two years.
Following FB support, I finally could talk to a person (I think). Here is how that exchange went:
Okay, it looks like there is no recourse. Of course, there could be, but there ain’t. So to summarise what corporate tyranny looks like:
You are accused of something amorphous and vague. You cannot provide any input or request information. The verdict is reached without you being heard and without an actual case being presented. Your account and content is gone for good and you have no way to get any of it back. That also means you don’t even know what (if anything) the alleged problem was/is. Hence you can’t even modify your conduct (if one wants to do that) to avoid a similar “issue” in the future.
Welcome to the world we live in. As political and corporate players greedily take more power and control, the disempowerment of the many is what follows. As the powers that be aim to create more division and hostility so that we turn on each other (ie “reporting” on each other) it becomes evident that we need to come together instead.
Mind your own business
The whole thing of reporting something/someone you disagree with is pretty sinister. Back in school, we had an unspoken code of conduct: You do not dob in someone. Simple. Phrases like “No one likes a snitch” come to mind. Granted, there are always exceptions, but to create and promote a culture of snitching, policing and imposing subjective views onto others is very concerning. It also undermines the people who partake and at the same time plays right into the hands of the few who “suggest/decide” what needs to be reported on. This is very dangerous territory; if you don’t see the connection to historical examples, one could call that willful ignorance. Besides, mind your own business and leave other people be.
How about we play the card of self-empowerment and self-responsibility instead? We can take responsibility for our feelings and actions. We can respectfully disagree with someone. We can say our piece (or not) and move on. We can learn to leave each other be; no need to run to mommy or daddy. After all, we need to walk/forge our own path. That is big enough of a task as it is.
And in the case of a wrong that has occurred (like the removal of our Instagram account), we can feel the feelings that come up, reach out to others for support and move on. Or take on the fight if that is what feels appropriate. I decided to move on, start a new Instagram account and reach out to our partners in the health space for support in rebuilding our audience. There are marvellous people everywhere, doing incredible work. Together we can create the more beautiful world we all want to see. It starts with each one of us doing the best we can and from that place, supporting each other, speaking our truth and showing up in the world.
The algorithm is not your friend; you are!
I now believe that our account removal was a mistake by automated processes. But it could well be that someone (human or bot) took offence at us promoting natural health (truly dangerous, right?!). Either way, the takeaway is: the algorithm is not your friend. Also, make sure that you back up all the content you create, it might be lost otherwise.
But much more importantly, are you looking after yourself? Do your choices and priorities empower you? Do you take ownership of your health and your life? Are you becoming more resilient emotionally, physically, and spiritually? So that when life deals you a blow, you can get back up and reemerge stronger. To drive this point home, here is a short inspirational video:
Okay. That is the story of our lost Instagram account. Here is our new account: circadian.app
As always, mind your rhythm, mind your light, see you outside!