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The weekend Instagram gave my account to Andrés Iniesta

Namesake of the world-famous soccer player found himself unable to use the photo app

Andrés Iniesta and... Andrés Iniesta.
Andrés Iniesta and... Andrés Iniesta.

@ainiesta is aged 35, and aside from being a graphic designer, he is a dad who likes to take photographs of his children, of Madrid, and of what he’s about to eat so that he can send them to friends and family via his account on Instagram, which he opened in 2010. But on Friday, without warning, the social network closed his profile.

“I was on holiday with the kids, and was going to upload a photo but Instagram wouldn’t let me, and there was a warning box on the screen of my phone. I didn’t think much of it until a friend of mine told me that suddenly my account was being used by the soccer player,” he tells Verne.

“They’ve just closed down my Instagram, I can’t believe it.”

“I read the terms and conditions of using the app, checked that I hadn’t done anything wrong, and so decided to write to Instagram.” After receiving no reply, he tried again, but still got no response the next day. He began to worry when friends suggested that his account had been closed so that it could be used by his more famous soccer-playing namesake. He contacted Instagram Help, but was still being ignored.

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Eventually, he decided to publish a piece on website Medium suggesting that the account had been hacked into by Andrés Iniesta’s lawyers, but later retracted the idea after the soccer player contacted him to say that he had nothing to do with it.

Joel Borras, who represents the Barcelona and Spain international midfielder through communications firm MBD, told EL PAÍS: “Andrés has his own verified account on Instagram, and we would never take somebody else’s profile. A work colleague gave me the link to the Medium article and I was surprised because it suggested that we might have had something to do with this.” When he saw that the post was going viral, with 900 shares on Facebook and 1,300 retweets on Twitter, as well as becoming a hot topic on Reddit and even picked up by British daily The Independent, MBD decided to help out.

“The account has been reactivated! But I still don’t have any news from Instagram, I don’t understand it.”

On Sunday, and without any explanation, Iniesta was once again able to upload photographs to his account, and keep his circle of friends and family up to date. “I also found around 600 new people,” he explains. “There has been a lot of fuss about this and that’s not what I wanted. The problem is with Instagram. I think I got my account back because of the hullaballoo on the social networks; not because of my complaints to the company, because so far, they haven’t bothered to get in touch,” he says.

Things seem to have returned to normal, but there are still a few mysteries to clear up about the affair: why was Iniesta’s account blocked and transferred to the soccer player? Why has it been returned to him? EL PAÍS contacted Instagram (bought by Facebook in 2012) to ask for its version of events, but has received no reply. But the company did talk to website Business Insider: “We made a mistake here and restored the account as soon as we learned about it. Our apologies go out to Mr. Iniesta for the trouble we caused him.” But the question as to how this happened remains unanswered, and the company has refused to comment further.

”Seriously, I’m not trying to get anything out of this. I already have what I want (apart from an apology from instagram) and now I’m going to get on with my own things.

This isn’t the first time that the less famous Andrés Iniesta has incurred problems online as a result of having the same name as a famous soccer player. Ever since the South Africa World Cup in 2010, his Twitter profile has received dozens of messages each day from mistaken fans. “The majority don’t bother to check. They just assume that @ainiesta is the soccer player,” he says.

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