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What Does “User not found” Mean on Instagram?

Last Updated: November 9, 2021

In this article, we’ll learn all the reasons for the issue “User not found”, and what it means.
What Does “User not found” Mean on Instagram?
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Have you ever experienced a situation when you are trying to find someone’s profile on Instagram but keep stumbling on the message saying “User not found”?

Instagram is the second-largest social media platform in the world that has over a billion active users. Still, there are many issues users face.

“User not found” is one of those issues.

So, when does this happen?

This happens when you visit someone’s profile from the direct messages. People take this as a situation believing they got blocked by the person whose account they are trying to visit.

But the good news is this isn’t always the case. There are other reasons for this. In this article, we’ll learn all the reasons for the issue: “User not found”. 

What Does “User to found” Mean on Instagram?

User to found

Let’s first break the bubble of people’s belief that if they see the message “User not found”, this is because the user has blocked them. This isn’t the case because there are other reasons that explain the message.

For instance, if you encounter this message, this could mean the user changed their username, Instagram blocked them, the user has either disabled or deleted their account, and they have blocked you.

Well, this’s a possibility, but not the only one. But the critical question is, if there are many reasons, how can you get sure what is the actual case?

In this next section, we’ll discuss each reason thoroughly.

1. User Changed Their Username

Instagram uses usernames as unique identifiers for users. This means everyone has a distinct username on Instagram.

You might have encountered the message “Username not available”.

This means the username you are trying to use belongs to someone else. Hence, Instagram urges you to choose a different one or variations of the name you are trying to use.

Instagram also allows you to change the username whenever you want. This means if someone has changed their username, then you won’t find them on the platform even if you search for them.

So, what happens when you search for a user who changed their username?

Well, if you search for a user who has changed their username and the username is unused, then you’ll see the error “User not found”.

How can you make sure this is the case? Well, the first thing you can do is go to a mutual profile and search for them in the followers and following list. 

Make a search for their real name and Instagram will show you their profile even if they have changed the username. You can also visit other social media profiles of that user to see if they have updated their username and shared the details.

2. You Have Been Blocked

Blocked

Another reason for the error message “User not found” is that the user has blocked you on Instagram.

So, what happens when someone blocks you? When this happens, you don’t see their profile. Sometimes if their username is already in your search history.

You can find them, but their profile appears different from a normal one. You can neither see any of the posts, followers, followings, and profile picture nor direct message them, see their comments, mentions and tags.

Say you already have a chat history with them. Here, you can still send them messages, but they won’t see them.

Again, how can you make sure this is the case? The best method to make sure whether someone has blocked you is by searching for their profile from someone else’s account.

You can use your friend’s Instagram handle to access the user. If you are successful, then the user has blocked you.

3. User Deleted Permanently Their Account

How can you find an account on Instagram if it doesn’t exist on the platform? Well, this is another possibility explaining the message “User not found”.

What happens when someone deletes their account? When someone permanently deletes their account from Instagram, all of their posts, comments and platform information gets removed. 

Now, even if you search for them from another profile, you still won’t find them. They literally become ghosts. But if you find them from someone else’s account, chances are they have blocked you.

4. User Temporarily Disabled Their Account

Sometimes, users need to take a break from the world of social media. Fortunately, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow users to temporarily disable their accounts.

What happens when you temporarily disable your account?

The result is the same as the result when you permanently delete your account. All your posts and comments get removed. Your profile stops showing in the search and followers/ following list of other profiles.

Hence, if this has happened, then you’ll see the error “User not found”. The only way you can find the user is when they reactivate their profile.

5. Their Account Is Suspended

Account is suspended

Instagram has established a set of community and platform guidelines to protect the privacy of users and the integrity of its platform.

This means there is a certain type of content users can’t post or promote on the platform. You need to follow these restrictions strictly.

What happens when you ignore the guidelines? When you do this, Instagram sends you a pre-ban warning with suggestions to make things right.

If you still don’t exercise the suggestions and continue to post restricted content, Instagram suspends/ bans your account.

This’s another possibility explaining the message “User not found.” This is because when Instagram bans you, your account gets removed from their databases and anyone searching for you will encounter the error message.

What can you do if you get banned by Instagram? The only thing you can do is to request Instagram to lift the ban.

When Someone Blocks You on Instagram, Does It Say “User Not Found”?

The straightforward answer to this question is yes. There are many possibilities that can explain the error message “User not found”. But you can see the error when someone blocks you on Instagram.

When this happens, the user doesn’t want you to access their profile or send them messages. Hence, Instagram respects their decision and stops showing their profile to you.

But there’s a confusion circling people that even if someone has blocked you, you can access their profile using a web browser.

Well, this’s completely misleading because when you search for their Instagram profile link, the browser displays the message: “Sorry, this page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.”

Why Can’t I Find an Instagram User?

Instagram distinguishes users using their usernames on the platform. If someone has changed their username, and you are to search for their old username, you won’t find them.

Another reason is that they have blocked you from accessing their account. If you have violated their privacy or troubled them, they can block you.

You can confirm this by searching for their profile using someone else’s account. If their account shows up, then chances are they have blocked you.

Why Can’t I Find Someone on Instagram if I’m Not Blocked?

If you have checked and found out that you didn’t get blocked by the user you are trying to find, then chances are they have deleted, disabled their account or Instagram has banned them.

When someone deletes or disables their account, their profile disappears from Instagram. Hence, any search you make, won’t help you find them.

This also happens when Instagram bans the user. If someone consistently breaks the platform guidelines or posts restricted content, Instagram bans them.

How to Check if Someone Blocked You on Instagram?

This is one of the most common questions people ask. Now, the first step is to check through the DM section.

If you have already talked with the person through direct messages, you can click on their profile. If you see the message “User not found”, move to the second step.

In this step, they access their profile from another account. If their profile shows up, then that person has blocked you.

User Not Found on Instagram: Conclusion

There you have it. Now, you know all the reasons for the issue: “User not found.”

This happens when someone changes their username, blocks you, gets suspended by Instagram, when they delete or temporarily disable their account.

You can always double-check the possibilities to make sure you are on the right track.

Written by Jason Wise

Hi! I’m Jason. I tend to gravitate towards business and technology topics, with a deep interest in social media, privacy and crypto. I enjoy testing and reviewing products, so you’ll see a lot of that by me here on EarthWeb.