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Instagram might steal your account to give it to a famous person who also has your name

Published Jul 20th, 2015 2:20PM EDT

What happens when you have the same name as a popular football star and you also own a potentially highly coveted Instagram handle? Just ask Andrés Iniesta — the regular man, not the Spanish superstar — and he’ll tell you that Instagram might freeze you out of your own account for no apparent reason.

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“My name is Andrés Iniesta and my only mistake having the exact name and last name as a famous football player,” the Instagram user wrote on Medium after discovering he wasn’t in control of his @ainiesta Instagram ID any longer.

He supposedly “infringed the Terms of Use” of Instagram. The company punished him by deactivating his account.

However, the account was then promptly assigned to the football player who has the same name, a move that suggested the account had been shut down on purpose so it could be reassigned to the more popular user.

Instagram reinstated the rightful owner of the account soon after that, and the football player registered a different handle, @andresiniest8, which already has more than 5.4 million followers. That proves famous people will be able to reach their fans on social networks no matter what handle they’d use.

Instagram has confirmed to Gizmodo what happened, but did not say it stole the account to hand it over to the Spanish football player. Instead, the company labeled the whole thing as a mistake.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

Iniesta acknowledged that his account is back in good order, adding that the player’s agency has contacted him and “promise that they had nothing to do with this problem.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.