What Does “User not found" Mean on Instagram?
Are you looking up someone’s profile and seeing the “User not found” error on Instagram?
Or perhaps you tried to search their username and you can’t find the user?
You may see this message when you try to visit their profile from the direct messages feature if you send the messages in the past and have them in your Instagram chat history.
There are few reasons why this might be happening and it doesn’t always mean that you have been blocked.
If you wonder what does it mean when it says “User not found” on Instagram, I will explain all possible reasons why this error occurs and also suggest possible solutions.
What Does “User not found” mean on Instagram?
The “User not found” error on Instagram means that the user either changed their username, the user blocked you, the user deleted or disabled their account or the account has been suspended.
You will see this error appearing when you visit someone’s Instagram profile page on the Instagram app or when you try to look up their Instagram posts.
So does a user not found mean blocked?
Here is worth clarifying that “User not found” doesn’t necessarily mean that you have been blocked, in total there are 5 reasons:
- The user changed their username
- You have been blocked
- User deleted permanently their account
- User temporarily disabled their account
- Their account is suspended
There are few ways to verify the exact cause of this error and now I want to go through each case and explain in more detail.
1. User changed their username
The most common reason why you are seeing a “User not found” message is when a user changed their username (aka Instagram handle) to something else.
Instagram allows changing the username at any given time, and when that happens, you won’t be able to search for the user with their old username - it will appear to you like this profile no longer exists.
This scenario will be likely less common for popular social media accounts since they don’t tend to often change their Instagram handles.
So how can you verify that they indeed changed their username and it’s not something else?
You could look them up on their other social media platforms and see whether they updated their info there.
If you have mutual followers or it happens you follow the same profile, another way would be to search for them on your friend’s “followers” or “following” list.
You won’t see their old username anymore but you should be able to recognize their profile photo or name.
If you have a chat history with their profile, you could visit their profile from there - this way Instagram will show you their updated profile and new username.
However, if you access their profile from the chat history and you still see this message, that means you have been blocked, which I will discuss in the next point.
2. You have been blocked
The second most common reason for the “Username not found” error is when someone blocked you on Instagram.
When someone blocks you on Instagram, their profile won’t appear in Instagram’s search results, however, you might see still their profile in your recent searches but when you click it, you get this error message.
Similarly, if you have a chat history with the profile you suspecting of blocking you, you will still be able to continue to send them messages.
However, their Instagram profile picture will change to default, and the moment you click their profile, you will get the “User not found” error.
But before you jump to any conclusions, it’s best to always double-check whether this is the case by doing one more check.
Even if the user blocked your profile, it still should be visible to others.
For that reason, the best way to verify you have been really blocked is to visit the person’s profile from another Instagram account you have access to.
If you can see their profile normally from your other account then you can be sure you have been blocked.
3. User deleted permanently their account
Although less common, one possible reason we can’t exclude is the user simply deleted their account on Instagram.
When a user deletes their Instagram account, all the content, including Instagram posts and comments that belongs to that account is removed too.
The deleted Insaccount won’t appear in the Instagram search results or among other Instagram accounts in “follower” and “following” lists.
The best way to verify whether user indeed deleted their account on Instagram is to look it up from another account.
If the other user on Instagram also gets the error “User not found”, then there is a chance user deleted their account or temporarily disabled it, which I will cover in the next point below.
4. User temporarily disabled their account
Users on Instagram can take a break from Instagram and put their profiles on hold.
When that happens, their account will stop showing up both in search results and to other users in their follow/following lists.
Similar to permanent account deletion, when you try to visit a profile of a user who disabled their account temporarily, you will see a “User not found” message.
In such case, their account will remain hidden and the only way is to wait until the user reactivates back their profile.
5. Their account is suspended
The Instagram platform has its rules and community guidelines and if the users don’t follow them, they might get their account suspended.
When an account is banned on Instagram, you won’t see any indicator that the account has been suspended like with Twitter for example.
Instead, you will see “User not found” like this profile never existed.
Recall whether the person you are trying to find could potentially violate any Instagram guidelines and get their account in trouble.
Banned by Instagram profiles can still put user appeal to have their account reinstated but as long as their account stays banned, there is nothing you can do.
When someone blocks you on Instagram does it say “User not found”?
Yes. Although blocking is not the only possible explanation when someone blocks you on Instagram, “User not found” Instagram will appear when you try to access their profile from the Instagram app.
However, when you access the profile URL from a web browser, instead you will see:
“Sorry, this page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.” message in their profile.
Why can’t I find an Instagram user?
You can’t find an Instagram user because likely they either changed their username or blocked you.
When someone blocks you on Instagram, you won’t be able to find them with search function as their account will be hidden from you.
To can confirm that their blocked you or their username still exists, use another account and then go to search and search their username.
You should then be able to find the profile in question.
Why can’t I find someone on Instagram if I’m not blocked?
If you are sure you are not blocked by the person you are trying to find, then very likely they changed their Instagram handle.
If that’s not the case, perhaps they deleted or disabled their account or in some rare situations, their Instagram profile has been suspended.
In this situation, If you have mutual friends on Instagram, the best way is to look up their friend list and see whether the profile you are trying to find appears there.
How to check if someone blocked you on Instagram?
There are two quick ways to know you have been blocked on Instagram: if you exchanged with that person messages before and now when you visit their profile you get “User not found”, that is one way to know they have blocked you.
You can confirm it by visiting their profile from another account and see whether you still get the error - if not, then you can be sure that someone prevents you from seeing their profile.
If it happens that you have been on their profile while they set a block on you, you won’t be able to leave a like on their post or comment.
Can You Still Message “User not found” on Instagram?
Yes, if you have conversation history with an Instagram account that shows up as “User not found”, you will still be able to see and send messages.
However, the person on receiving end wont see them.
User Not Found on Instagram: Conclusion
As you see there may be many reasons why you can’t find someone on Instagram and the Instagram user not found error is quite common.
The best is to always double-check and re-verify the error while being logged in to another Instagram account.
In most cases, it’s just the user changing their Instagram handle or if the username is lengthy or complex, there is a chance you simply mistyped it.
I hope this article sheds more light on the “User not found” error and with its help, you will be able to find the person you are looking for.
Check out our other articles like Instagram login emails and Instagram shadowban.
Karen is a senior technical writer and copywriter here at GrowFollowing. Her area of expertize are social media apps and new media.