8 Reasons for Instagram “User not found” Error and How to Fix

Over the past decade, the growth of social media has allowed for greater connectivity amongst people worldwide. You can search for a person on different social media, including Instagram, with just a name or nickname. However, there can be an instance where Instagram throws the “User not found” error despite the sophistication of the platform’s search algorithms.

When such instances occur, you will get an error code telling you that the Instagram user couldn’t be found. This error is one of the many ways the social media app regulates how its platform operates. In this post, we will examine the meaning of this error and the reasons for it.

What does the “User not found” error mean on Instagram?

That moment when you type a username on Instagram, and you see the user not found error, you may be confused. The first thing that comes to the mind of many people is that such a user has blocked them. Fortunately, while this may be true, it is not always the situation. Several other reasons can cause the error to appear, but we should start with the meaning of the error code itself.

When Instagram displays the error, it means that the profile of the person you are trying to view is not available on the platform. As a result, Instagram cannot display the user and throws that error. It may be a temporary problem or a permanent one.

Why does Instagram show User not found message?

This is the question that many Instagram users have which is why I’ve decided to write a post to answer it once and for all.

The user not found issue can be caused due to various reasons such as typos in a username. There are also situations whereby the issue is from Instagram itself. Here are the most common reasons for this error.

1. Username has changed

When you click on a tagged account from a post, and you see “user not found”, it is likely that the person has changed their username. Unfortunately, people often change their usernames on Instagram, and if you search for an old one, you will not be able to see the person’s profile.

You can try searching for the person’s name instead of their handle through the search feature and see if that works. If not, you should try to reach out to the person and ask for their new username.

2. Account is disabled

Some people disable their accounts when they are about to go offline for a long time. This is a temporary situation, but Instagram will display the user not found message for anyone searching for such an account during that period. Of course, this problem will be over once the person reactivates their account.

3. The account has been deleted

This is a more permanent alternative to an account being disabled. When users delete their accounts, all their posts and activities are deleted. Thus, you will see that error message when you search for the person’s account on Instagram. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about that except to try and contact the person outside of Instagram if necessary.

4. You may have been blocked

It could be that the person you are trying to search for has blocked you. For example, when an Instagram user blocks you, you will see the “user not found” message every time you try to view their account. This is a very common reason but is not always the case.

5. Account is suspended

Instagram has a set of policies and community guidelines users are expected to follow while using the platform. If you break any of these rules, your account will be suspended. That profile you are trying to view might have broken one of these rules, leading Instagram to suspend the account. If this happens to you or another person, you can contact Instagram support for help recovering your account.

6. Mistyped Username

This is the most common reason for the error. Therefore, check that you have entered the username correctly. A change as simple as putting a capital letter where there ought to be a small letter will lead to you not finding the account you are looking for.

7. Instagram not updated

This is not common, but when your Instagram app is outdated, you may be unable to enjoy some features of Instagram, such as searching for other users. First, go to the App Store to check if your app is up-to-date. If not, update it and see if the problem is resolved. If it persists, you should check for other reasons explained in this section.

8. Slow internet connection

Slow internet connectivity or an unstable network is also one of the reasons why Instagram displays this error. Therefore, make sure that you have proper internet connectivity when using Instagram.

How to know if someone blocked me on Instagram?

When you get the “user not found” error on Instagram, it is one of the major pointers that the user has blocked you. However, this is not always the case, as we have explained above. To be sure someone has blocked you on Instagram, you can start by searching for the user through another Instagram account you have access to.

It is simpler if you have another account. You can switch from your main account to the other one and search for the user. If it shows, there is no doubt that the person has blocked your main account. You can also ask a friend or another person to search for the person with their account to be entirely sure. If they can view the account, you have your answer; you have been blocked.

On another note, if you have chatted with the person previously, you can try sending them a message. If the message goes through, but you are still unable to view their profile, it is another pointer that the person has blocked you. This is the same for an account you recently searched for and saw, which no longer displays the profile.

All these are signs that the person has blocked your account. You can do nothing about this other than ask the person to unblock you if you feel it was done mistakenly. Of course, you would have to use another account to get through to the person.

Wrapping Up

When Instagram tells you that a user cannot be found, there is no reason to jump to the conclusion that the person has blocked you. It could be that the person has changed their username or is currently not on Instagram due to one reason or another. The problem can also be from your end, as you may have realized now. You should identify the problem, as that is the key to knowing how to get out of the situation.

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Ali Mahdi

Ali Mahdi is the founder of CyberTips and a seasoned software developer. His expertise lies in programming, cryptocurrency trading, and social media marketing. In addition to CyberTips, Ali has written for other prominent blogs in the past for 5+ years, including iDrop News, Redmond Pie, iPhone Hacks, and iDownloadBlog.