A bug is making people think their Instagram accounts were deleted, and they are pretty steaming mad about it.
The Facebook-owned social app is being bombarded with complaints on Twitter, Facebook, and its own service from people who claim their accounts have been deleted without warning or cause.
Instagram says the culprit is a bug that not only logged people out of their accounts but also hid them from view. When BuzzFeed News checked multiple account pages that users claimed were deleted, we saw a message stating that the content was unavailable, noting that the link might be broken or the page could've been removed.
"No accounts have been deleted," a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "However, the bug logged some users out of their accounts, while also locking their accounts from view. When the bug is fixed and affected users are able to log back in, their accounts will be viewable again."
Even so, users are freaked out. "Please give me back my account @harryspinkflowers i worked so hard on it and had it for 2 years.... please give it back," read a typical response to Instagram's latest post. Others were less diplomatic. "Give me my fucking account back bro," Twitter user @_SaucySierra_ wrote.
It's unclear how many accounts were affected by this faux purge. Instagram says it's a very small percentage, but the complaints serve as useful a reminder that, ultimately, free social media accounts belong to the companies you register them with. And these companies can do pretty much whatever they want with them.
That's a big problem, especially for businesses and other Instagram users whose accounts have a material tie to the offline world. Chocolate company ChocZero's business is suffering without access to its 6,500-follower account, according to its marketing director Rhea Monique. "I'm supposed to talk to wholesale distributors today and our Instagram along with our proof of sales is a big way to pitch relevancy, " she told BuzzFeed News. "So it's devastating this happened."
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.