Instagram Allegedly Hijacks Account to Give It to Football Star

By Chris Mills on at

Andres Iniesta is a Spanish football star, captain of FC Barcelona and player on the national team. A different Andres Iniesta is a regular guy from Madrid, and owner of the @ainiesta Instagram account. Or at least, he was.

According to a post written by the non-sports-star Iniesta, his Instagram account was spontaneously frozen on Thursday, thanks to alleged Terms of Use infringements. But the handle was then quickly re-populated as the account of the famous Andres Iniesta, making it seem rather likely that the account was shut down, with no prior warning or discussion, to give it to a football star.

Following the story on Medium, it seems that Instagram has restored the account to its rightful owner, and the footballplayer is now using @andresiniesta8 (and already up to 5.4 million followers, for that matter). Brands taking over accounts that are being squatted on is commonplace, but a unilateral takeover of a completely legitimate account — and in such a seemingly shady way — is a dirty move.

Of course, this is only one side of the story — we’ve reached out to Instagram for their version.