Instagram, owned by Facebook, is one of the biggest social media platforms in its own right. What Twitter is for text and TikTok is for videos, Instagram is for photos. If you take a lot of selfies, you’re probably already on Instagram. But like all social media platforms, Instagram has its own unique quirks. One of these is the “Instagram User.”
Scroll through your comments and DMs, and you might see messages from “Instagram User.” This person doesn’t have a profile picture and you can’t view their account. What’s going on?
In fact, Instagram User is an account that belongs to one of your friends. When someone’s account changes to “Instagram User,” it means one of four things:
- The person has permanently deleted their Instagram account.
- The person has temporarily deactivated their Instagram account.
- Instagram has banned the person’s account, either temporarily or permanently.
- The person has blocked you.
When any of these things happens, the person’s Instagram profile picture will be blanked out. The account name, meanwhile, shows up as “Instagram User.” But how do you know which one of those things is the case?
We’ve written a lot about Instagram in the past. Among other things, we’ve talked about how to enable high-quality photo uploads on the service. Now we’re going back to the well to explain even more about everyone’s favorite photo sharing app. Here’s how to figure out what “Instagram User” means, along with some information on account deletions.
Does “Instagram User” Mean the Account Was Deleted?
If an account has been renamed to Instagram User, it’s possible that the account was deleted. They may have done this voluntarily, or they might have done something to violate Instagram’s terms of service. Either way, you won’t be able to see their account.
You also won’t be able to send the person any DMs. Anything you send will not be delivered, even if the account is only temporarily deactivated. You’ll only be able to see your earlier chats. If the account is reactivated, you’ll be able to resume chatting. Otherwise, the chat is only an archive.
So, what’s the difference between a deleted account and a temporary deactivation? How do Instagram bans work? And how do you know if your friend’s account is permanently deleted, or if they’re just taking a break? Let’s go over each of these things.
Deleted Accounts vs. Temporary Deactivations
A deleted account is exactly what it sounds like; it’s gone. The moment you delete your account, everything on it is removed. You have no photos, no friends, and no user ID. If you want to return to Instagram at some point, you’ll have to create a new account from scratch.
When this happens, your friends will still be able to read your old chats. However, they won’t be able to respond. They also won’t be able to see your picture or user ID, since those have been deleted from the platform. Since the information no longer exists, Instagram shows a blank picture and replaces your name with “Instagram User.”
A temporary deactivation is a little bit different. This is a feature Instagram offers people who are becoming exhausted with the platform and want to take a break. A temporary deactivation hides your photos and makes you unreachable in chat. You also won’t show up in search results. However, other information will still be retained. People can still view your bio, and you’ll keep all your followers. When you’re done with your break, you can reactivate your account and pick up right where you left off.
What About Bans?
Like any social media platform, Instagram has terms and conditions. You agree to these when you first sign up to the site. If someone violates the terms and conditions, Instagram has the option do issue a ban. Normally, Instagram only issues bans when someone reports a user’s content. However, some content or keywords may trigger automatic action.
The length of a ban depends on the severity of the policy violation. In most cases, bans last for only 48 hours. That said, repeated infractions will earn you longer bans. If you’ve been told over and over not to post a certain type of content, you may be banned for a month.
Instagram rarely issues lifetime bans. But it can happen in certain cases such as harassment or making violent threats.
How Do I Know if my Friend’s Account is Permanently Deleted?
As you can see, the “Instagram User” label isn’t terribly helpful. It doesn’t tell you whether your friend’s account is temporarily disabled, or whether it’s completely gone. So, how do you find out what’s going on? The easiest way is to reach out to your friend on another platform and find out. But if Instagram is your only method of communication, there’s still a way.
When you see Instagram User, click on their profile. If the person’s account is temporarily disabled, you’ll still be able to see some information. Their posts will be gone, but you’ll see their bio, followers, and other basic info. If the page is completely blank, the account has been permanently deleted.
Does “Instagram User” Mean I’ve Been Blocked?
No, it doesn’t. As we’ve discussed, the “Instagram User” label doesn’t always mean you’ve been blocked. Of course, it’s possible that you’ve been blocked. Instagram doesn’t notify you when someone blocks you, so you won’t get any kind of warning. They just turn into Instagram User, and that’s that.
As before, tap on the Instagram User’s profile, and see what information you can see. If you can see their followers and following count, you haven’t been blocked. The person has just temporarily deleted their account. If you can’t see any information, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper.
Following the next step can be hard if you’re following a lot of people or have a lot of followers. In that case, you might want to read how Instagram’s following and followers list is ordered. It will make it much easier to find your friend’s profile.
How to See if You’ve Been Blocked
To see if you’ve been blocked, type the person’s name into the Instagram search bar. If the person has blocked you, they won’t show up in your search results. At least, that’s the case if it’s a private account. If it’s a public account, such as for a public figure, they’ll still show up in the results. You just won’t be able to see their posts, followers, or following count.
If your friend has a private account and you just sent them a follow request, they may not have seen it. If you’re not sure whether you even sent a request, it’s a good idea to check. Here’s how to see who you requested to follow on Instagram.
Of course, your friend also won’t appear if their account has been deleted. Go to another account and run a search. Does your friend show up? If they do, you’ve been blocked. If they don’t, their account was deleted.
For a public account, try sending them a DM from another account. If it goes through, you’ve been blocked. If not, the account has been temporarily deactivated.
When someone blocks you, you can’t send them any messages or view their profile. However, your profile will already be hidden to them. Along the same lines, if you’ve blocked somebody, you won’t be able to DM them without unblocking them.
What if I Have DMs From “Instagram User”?
If you have DMs from Instagram User, it means someone you chatted with deleted their account. They may also have disabled it temporarily, or you may have been blocked. Sometimes, instead of “Instagram User,” it will say “Instagrammer.” This means the same thing.
Keep in mind that Instagram will eventually delete DMs from users whose accounts have been deleted. They’ll remain in your inbox for 30 days, after which they will disappear. If your friend’s DMs remain after 30 days, their account isn’t permanently deleted. You’ve either been blocked or they’ve temporarily disabled their account.
The “Instagram User” label is confusing to a lot of people. It doesn’t help that it can mean different things. So even when you know what Instagram User means in general, you have to figure it out for each situation. Is it a deleted account? A temporarily deactivated one? Have you been blocked? By following this guide, you can figure out what’s going on.