What Does User Not Found Mean on Instagram?


We often take for granted just how easy it is to find someone on the internet. With people having established their presence on pretty much every social media platform, it’s only a matter of typing in a username and running a search till you find the person you were looking for. Of course, platforms have provided settings and provisions to avoid the abuse of this feature; especially to curb the undesirable consequences that come with it. Nevertheless, the ability to find a user is an essential feature of Social Media platforms. 

Indeed it can seem odd when the one-off ‘User not found’ error pops-up when you expect to see a profile instead. What does this error mean when and why are you seeing it? Here’s everything you need to know. 

What does ‘user not found’ mean?

It’s probable that despite typing in the correct username you will be reckoned with the ‘user not found’ in the search results. There are multiple reasons for this error popping up so keep in mind that Instagram has made the ‘user not found’ provision for two reasons. Either the user really does not exist or they are intentionally not available on Instagram for an array of reasons. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do if you see the ‘user not found’ error, however, you can verify the possible reasons for why you might be seeing this error.  

Why do you see ‘user not found’ error on Instagram

There are specific reasons that the ‘user not found’ error has been set in place.

Scenario #1: You might have been blocked by the user

In this scenario, ‘User not found’ acts as a polite way of letting the finder know that they have been blocked by the user they are looking for. This is also a general norm on Social Media platforms where you are met simply with the absence of the user instead of an explicit notification stating that you are being intentionally avoided. If you want to confirm that you have been blocked, ask another user (who has not given the user any reason to block them) to check whether the profile is visible to them when they run the same search as you. If the profile is visible to them, then you have your answer.  

Scenario #2: User changed their name

As obvious as this scenario may seem, it’s something we tend to overlook and it’s a good idea to triple check whether the user has changed their name. Considering the fact that social media is not a true representation of the actual person, but rather a mood or persona, it’s very likely that the user simply changed their name. Make sure that you confirm their most current username and only then search for the username again. 

Scenario #3: User may have temporarily disabled their account

Temporarily disabling one’s IG account is an essential activity when performing a Social Media detox. When an account is temporarily disabled, it’s basically made to appear as if the user does not exist. This also means that anyone looking for them will be unable to find them. Once the user logs back into their Instagram Account and chooses to reenable their Instagram account, their username will appear when you search for them. 

Scenario #3: User may have permanently deleted their account

While on one hand users may disappear temporarily, there are also those who have permanently deleted their account. In this case, the user has been erased from Instagram forever and their username will never appear on a search ever again. 

Scenario #4: User is banned by Instagram

Instagram can ban users for violation of its Terms of service. When a ban has been implemented, Instagram implements certain restrictions on the account that is in violation and it will not appear on the search list when you search for them as part of said restrictions. Once the ban is revoked, you will not see the user not found error and instead just see the user profile.  

We hope this article clarified what you need to know about the user not found error. Just as Social Media platforms like Instagram ensure that users have as much visibility as possible, they also make provisions to allow users to disappear when they want. So do keep in mind that the user not found errors has a much deeper function than meets the eye and all you need to do is identify what is the function that it’s fulfilling.   

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