November 26, 2018

when instagram decides you're an impostor ...

At the beginning of the month, a friend notified me that someone had opened an impersonation Instagram account in my name. This person had taken my name, profile picture, and last 24 pictures and copied them into this new account, which had a username just slightly different from my own.

I put out the call to all of my Facebook friends and Instagram followers to report the fake profile ... and I woke up the next morning to find that my own legitimate account had been disabled for impersonation.

Interestingly, Instagram states that only the person being impersonated can report another account for impersonation, and I certainly didn't report myself, but there you have it. (Also, I tried to report the other account for impersonation, but Instagram requires you to attach a photo of yourself holding your photo ID, and the report form wasn't working. Of course, it's working now, after it's too late ...) About 72 hours later, Instagram disabled the fake account, but it's now been more than three weeks, and I cannot get any response from Instagram about my real account. I'm beginning to believe that those 1000+ posts from nearly five years are just gone. (Fortunately, I had Chatbooks, so all but the last several posts are printed in my Instagram series.)

The most frustrating thing about it is that I cannot get a real person. Someone who actually looked at the two accounts would be able to tell in an instant that my account was the real account and that I wasn't impersonating anyone, but I am completely unable to get a response from a real person.

For a few years there, customer service was king, and if you aired a grievance with a company on Twitter, you were sure to get a response. Perhaps we've passed that era, or perhaps Instagram just doesn't care. Whatever the reason, my Twitter pleas have received zero response.

So, yes, I'm frustrated, but at least one good thing has come out of all of this. For quite a while, my sister had been telling me that I should start an Instagram account for my book blog. I always resisted for a variety of reasons, but the main one was that I didn't want to start over with followers. I had close to 400 on my personal account, and, while that's not a huge number, it's a whole lot bigger than zero!

But with my personal account shut down, I had nothing to lose! So I created a Christian Chick's Thoughts account: @cctblog.

I'm loving it!

It's a much more focused account, basically about books, movies, and music ... and, of course, my cats. And there's something about knowing who I'm targeting that makes it easier to write captions and choose what to post.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about why I posted what I did before, and I have to be honest and say that I was looking for affirmation. Yes, many of the photos I posted were ones that I wanted to remember (and I did a fair bit of scrolling through my own old posts), but I wanted others to like them, too. I suppose the same could be said of my CCT account, as well, but the purpose of these photos is to "build my brand," so to speak, and drive people to my blog. It also gives me a great forum to share about the books I'm reading, which never really fit well on my personal Instagram. I'm actually interacting a lot more with other book lovers through this account than I ever did before. At least for now, this account feels very fulfilling.

And I still have Facebook for all of those family and vacation pics 😃. (Maybe I'll create a new personal Instagram ... we'll see. If so, I'll be sure to let you know!)


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