Have Privacy Laws trumped logic…

Hello folks. I took the summer off, but I am back to bring marketing insights once again. Hope everyone had a great summer!!!

Recently, a client I work with ran into an issue that confounds me. The IG account we had for the business was not allowing us to log-in, although we had not changed the password. This has been a successful IG page and we have acquired a good amount of followers – so it’s imperative that access be restored.

When I reached out to IG (which is owned by Facebook now), via our linked FB account to ask for help in resetting our password, I received a most curious response from Facebook “customer service”. Allow me to digress on that point, there is no customer service phone number (so you can’t speak to a live person) and all correspondence is done via email. For one of the larger social media companies in the industry, they certainly have an archaic customer service policy.

Back to the story, the customer service rep asked that I send an email from the email address used to set-up the IG account. Unfortunately, the email address used was tied to a domain name that no longer exists, due to the fact that we redesigned our website and changed the domain name. As I am the Social Media Manager, I understood the apprehension of releasing the password to me. So, I enlisted the help of the business owner, who responded to the customer service email – telling IG/FB that we can provide legal documentation proving the IG account is ours and we do indeed represent the business.

As of 9:43 PM tonight, we have no response and it appears that the answer of if you can’t respond from the email address used to set-up the account, there is nothing further they can do. The rationale behind this lack of customer service can be summed in one line of their response…. “Protecting the privacy of the people who use Instagram is very important to us. In order to do this, you must respond from the email address used to set-up the account.”  

So, here we have a business that has followers and a successful social media presence. Facebook and Instagram is sticking to the policy above, in spite of the fact – documentation confirming the business address and details can be provided.


As a Marketing Professional, I understand that protecting privacy of users is paramount importance, especially in light of the Facebook political data breach earlier this year. However, have we gone too far to in this crusade. When a client/user of your platform has an issue, like an unrecoverable email address – but can provide other forms of documentation to prove the account is theirs, shouldn’t common sense come into play. A rigid policy like the one stated above only serves to A) upset users of your platform and potentially makes them consider stop using the platform, B) seems like an extreme overreaction to what occurred earlier this year and C) users can lose followers and potential customers due to this strict adherence to protecting the privacy of users.

A common sense approach to these situations needs to be implemented.

First, there should be more ways to contact social media companies – other than the self-help pages they offer and email correspondence. You should be able to talk to a live person or have an online chat to discuss the issues.

Secondly and most important, when an issue like the one we are encountering occurs – you need more than just one way to verify ownership of an account. Having a recovery email address you can access is great and the easiest way – but if you don’t have that, there should be documentation that can be provided to allow users to gain access to locked out accounts.

In closing, while protecting customer identity and data is of the utmost importance, there needs to be common sense and practical thinking in resolving these situations.

Let me know your thoughts – comments are welcome or email us at info@befordstmarketing.com.


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