Thea-Mai Baumann, an Australian artist and technologist, started an Instagram account with the handle @metaverse in 2012. On 2 November, she found that the account had been disabled. But after media reached out to Meta for comment, Baumann announced today that she has gotten her account back.
“So last month after the Meta rebrand, my Metaverse Instagram handle was disabled,” wrote Baumann on her recent Instagram post.
In late October, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook company has been rebranded to Meta. He also said that he wanted to make “Metaverse” their thing, as it will “touch every product” that they build.
Baumann then began receiving messages from strangers offering to buy her Instagram handle. However, people have also tried warning her that Facebook “isn’t gonna buy it, they’re gonna take it” before her @metaverse handle was disabled.
“Your account has been blocked for pretending to be someone else,” read her screen when she tried to check her Instagram account on 2 November.
“This account is a decade of my life and work. I didn’t want my contribution to the metaverse to be wiped from the internet,” said Baumann.
Metaverse Makeovers is an augmented reality company with about 1,000 followers on Facebook. The company created manicure designs that show holograms “popping” from them if you use an app.
On 2 December, a month after Baumann first appealed to Instagram to restore her account, The New York Times contacted Meta to ask why it had been shut down. A spokesman for Instagram replied that the account was “incorrectly removed for impersonation” and would be restored.
“We’re sorry this error occurred,” the spokesman wrote. However, they did not explain why the account had been flagged for impersonation, or who it might have been impersonating.
“I have my account back now, but only after media reached out to Meta for comment,” said Baumann.
Facebook support is virtually non-existent and she’s lucky that she got her account back after it was publicised by the media. As for how this happened, Instagram lets people report that someone is trying to impersonate you on the platform “while keeping anonymous”.
But since Baumann has had her account for close to 10 years, it seems awfully fishy that something like this would happen now. She also had to go through the trouble of taking a picture holding a sign to prove that she’s human and that she’s the true owner of the account.