Instagram Shuts Down a User’s Account to Give it to a Famous Soccer Player

Instagram issued an apology this weekend after closing the account of a Spanish man so that a famous soccer player with the same name could have his username.

Andrés Iniesta, a Spanish father and owner of the Instagram account Ainiesta, complained in a blog post on Medium over the weekend after Instagram suddenly deactivated his account “without previous notice” because he had “infringed the terms of use.” He decided to write the blog post after Instagram customer support offered no assistance in the matter and his friends began telling him that pictures of soccer player Andrés Iniesta, captain of the F.C. Barcelona team, began to appear in their feeds.

Five hours after posting his blog post, his account was mysteriously restored without anyone having contacted him to explain what had happened.

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In a statement to VentureBeat, Instagram confirmed the incident and apologized:

“We made a mistake here and restored the account as soon as we learned about it. Our apologies go out to Mr. Iniesta for the trouble we caused him.”

Instagram reportedly still hasn’t contacted Iniesta about what exactly happened or why despite issuing a statement to VentureBeat. Andrés Iniesta the soccer player now goes under the Instagram handle Andreiniesta8, but VentureBeat speculates that the mysterious mix-up probably occurred when a social media manager for the famous soccer player called Instagram to obtain the handle and someone there just gave him the account without checking whether the owner was an active user.

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Instagram does warn that “inactive usernames” may be permanently removed due to “prolonged inactivity,” though that wasn’t the case for Iniesta.

For anyone with high-profile Instagram handles, you better watch out that your more famous name double doesn’t snatch it from you.

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