They say “nothing will change”

*Everything* changes.

A few months ago while tagging my wife “at”Kathleen on Instagram I noticed her username was no longer displaying as “@kathleen”, but rather “_____kathleen”. I thought it was possibly due to her account privacy settings. While I’m no detective on this type of matter, it appeared that her account had been compromised.

She reached out through their Twitter support, @InstagramHelp. I even tried a few times as well. Nothing. No response whatsoever. I wasn’t overly surprised since their last support tweet was 587+ days ago. You know, just about the time that Facebook wrote out that big fat check. And they said “nothing will change. We’ll keep the service operating independently as it currently is.”

This morning I told her I Instagrammed a photo of our kids that she should see. She opened up Instagram on her phone (she’s not a regular on the service anymore) and noticed she’d been logged out and her password was no longer working. I decided to poke around some more and see if anyone was using her @kathleen username on Instagram. Someone sure was. Another Kathleen. Go figure.

But here’s the kicker: the new owner of the @kathleen username on Instagram is a appears to be a current Facebook / Instagram employee. Yes, you read that correctly.

I’m not saying that the new @kathleen personally stole or assisted with the compromise of her account, but shit, you sure as hell can’t see something doesn’t smell just a tad funky. Again, reached out via Twitter support, and you guessed it, still not a single response as of this moment. I’ll keep you posted on this thread if that changes by chance.

While I wrote this to share my wife’s story of losing her original Instagram handle, it was also written as a reflection of losing brand when getting aquired. Sure, Instagram works like it did before (sort of), you can still post indepedently of Facebook, etcetera, etcetera. But there were certainly things that have changed. Big things. Important things. Things that define “brand.” Things that define ‘experience’. Not answering support says all that you need to know about what will or will not change. When you stop actually caring; when you stop actually communicating; everything changes.

Update Apr 16, 2014 @2:34pm: I’m very pleased to announce that Facebook / Instagram did the right thing and delivered my wife’s Instagram handle back to it’s rightful place:

While we haven’t heard back from Facebook/Instagram directly, we did notice that my wife’s photos are now back in it’s rightful place ☺ Our only guess is that she did not post as often as they might not have liked. Either way, a heads up would have been appreciated. Active support would be excellent. Or even like Google Apps does with inactive email. “We’ve noticed you’ve been inactive, please let us know if you’d like to remain using this email.”

There’s still hope for change. Unfortunatley after today’s events, I’ve heard far too many similar stories. Hopefully, just maybe, this helps put things in a new direction. Or at the very least gets the right people thinking what needs to be changed for the user. We can only hope. Thank you team Facebook/Instagram. You gave my wife and I hope for a better internet.