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Instagram apologizes to user for handing his account to soccer star with same name

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Instagram was left red-faced Monday after it was forced to apologize for shutting down the account of a user and handing it to a famous soccer player with the same name.

Taking to his blog to explain the bizarre episode, the not-famous Andrés Iniesta wrote, “My name is Andrés Iniesta and my only mistake was having the exact name and last name as a famous football player.”

The famous Iniesta plays for Barcelona and Spain, and he, or his PR team, recently decided to open an Instagram account.

Non-famous Iniesta, who lives in Madrid, continues the story: “I am a father who likes to take pictures of his kids, yummy food and interesting buildings in Madrid. I usually share them on Instagram with friends and family.

“But four days ago and without previous notice, Instagram decided to close my account. The reason was that I ‘infringed the Terms of Use.'”

Confused, Iniesta examined the photo-sharing site’s list of terms and conditions, but couldn’t for the life of him work out what he’d done wrong.

He sent Instagram a message asking for an explanation, but heard nothing back. The situation became a little clearer when some friends contacted him to say the soccer star had mysteriously appeared on their “following” list. “And they don’t even like football!” Iniesta wrote.

He contacted Instagram again, but once again, nothing came back.

His friends then told him photos posted by the other Iniesta were showing up on their feeds. Having realized the company had transferred his account name to the soccer player, and feeling he hadn’t deserved to lose his account, he tried once more to clarify the situation with the company, but again received no response.

It was then that Iniesta felt compelled to post the story on his blog.

“I consider that my rights (we still have some on the internet) have been violated somehow,” he wrote. “I haven’t done anything wrong and have lost not only my pictures, but being able to share important moments with my friends and family. What pains me is that all of this has happened without any explanation, not even a Twitter response from Instagram.”

Surprise, surprise, once the story gained attention among news outlets, Instagram swiftly swung into action, returning the account to its original owner and providing the famous Iniesta with the clunkier @andresiniesta8 handle.


Instagram has since confirmed the story, and apologized to @ainiesta for the error.

“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,” the Facebook-owned company said in a statement to Gizmodo.

It’s certainly disappointing that Instagram snatched @ainiesta‘s account away from him for no good reason, and even more disappointing that it took wider publicity for the company to finally address the situation. The good news is that everything appears to have been sorted out now, and the slightly-more-famous-than-before Iniesta is once again filling his 800 followers’ Instagram feeds with images of his kids, yummy food and interesting buildings.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
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