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Why Can’t I Follow Someone on Instagram?

Published April 2, 2024

Instagram is a social media platform, which means a key feature is being able to follow others to keep up with what they are sharing. However, what if you run into a situation where you’re unable to follow an account? If you have experienced this, you have probably asked yourself, “Why can’t I follow someone on Instagram?”

If so, we have several explanations for why this is happening to you and how you can fix it.

Reasons Why You Can’t Follow Someone on Instagram

There are several reasons why you may have trouble following another Instagram account. You are likely to find one of the reasons below as the cause of your issue. Thankfully, we have a solution for each situation.

You Broke the Rules

Instagram, like any other social media platform, has a set of rules and community guidelines. This means that if you took some action that went against them, you are likely going to get penalized in some way.

Are you seeing an Action Blocked message come up on your screen after trying to hit the Follow button on an Instagram profile? If so, you broke one of Instagram’s rules that prevents spam-like actions.

On Instagram, you are not allowed to mass unfollow or follow accounts within a small period of time. Nobody knows for sure what the specifics are, and rightfully so. Otherwise, certain users could mass follow/unfollow up until the cutoff point, essentially gaming the system.

Through testing, it has been determined that you should ideally stick to following or unfollowing up to 250-500 accounts within a 24-hour period.

Note: Instagram prevents anyone from following any more than 7,500 accounts altogether.

Solution: Stay within the safe zone of following/unfollowing no more than 250-500 IG accounts per day.

Instagram Changed a Policy

From time to time, Instagram will update its algorithms so that the user experience is improved. However, this can also mean that long-standing policies change overnight. What can be challenging is knowing when these changes are made due to a lack of updates usually provided to users.

Solution: Try to find official updates from Instagram related to follow/unfollow actions, or look to see if there is any social media or news chatter regarding this.

You Have a New Account

Whenever someone creates a new Instagram account, they will have to go through a period where not all of the platform’s features can be used.

The reason for this is to prevent spam and ensure everyone else is safe from any potentially negative issues a spammer may create.

If you are seeing a message from Instagram that mentions it has restricted certain actions, it likely means you have tried following too many accounts.

Solution: Let your account warm up a few days to a few weeks before trying to add a lot of accounts at once.

Protip: Avoid following over 50 people within a 24 hour period.

You Were Blocked or Restricted by Someone

Anyone on Instagram is able to block or restrict anyone else if they feel they need to. This is to ensure that if someone feels like they are being harassed in some way, there is a quick, easy, and effective way to keep them away.

When your account is blocked by another Instagram user, you will be unable to view their profile or engage with any of their content. If you are having difficulty finding someone’s profile you had no issue finding previously, you are likely blocked by them.

Your account also may become restricted by Instagram itself, and the reasons can vary. If Instagram restricted you, then you likely would be unable to follow for at least 24 hours and up to a few days.

Solution: The only way to follow someone who has blocked you is for that person to unblock you.

There Is a Technical Glitch

Being unable to follow another account may not be your fault at all. In fact, it could be due to a technical glitch within Instagram itself.

Solution: Simply wait until Instagram resolves the bug. If you see a technical issue then chances are high that they already know about it.

Solution #2: You can also report an issue to Instagram by taking the following steps:

  1. Tap on the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) from your profile page
  2. Under More info and support tap Help
  3. Tap on Report a problem
  4. Tap on Report problem without shaking
  5. Decide whether you want to include complete logs and diagnostics or not and continue
  6. Briefly explain your issue and upload screenshots you think will help explain the issue
  7. Tap Send

Your Internet Connection Is Poor

Sometimes, the only reason you may be unable to follow someone on Instagram is because you have a spotty internet connection.

Besides being unable to follow other accounts, you may also find it impossible to send DMs, like posts, or leave comments.

Solution: Check your internet connection or make sure you’re in an area with at least 4G wifi and try again.

You Are Logged in on Several Devices

If you are logged into your Instagram account on multiple devices, and regularly signing in and out of them, Instagram may flag your account as being suspicious and limit your actions, including following other accounts.

Solution: Do your best to only log in and out of one device. If you need to use more than one device, try to avoid signing in and out frequently from the other ones.

You Use a Vpn

If you turn on a VPN while logged into your Instagram account, the app will notice your IP address has changed. This will be suspicious to Instagram, which could result in your account getting restricted. Not being able to follow other accounts will be one of the side effects of getting your account restricted.

Solution: Disable your VPN and log into your account without it running.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have asked yourself “Why can’t I follow someone on Instagram?” and read this article, you are probably now understanding why you are having this issue. However, there are a few frequently asked questions that condense the most common issues. These are the following:

I’m Not Blocked by Someone I Want to Follow so Why Can’t I Find Them?

If you are having issues following someone due to being unable to locate their account, the most likely reasons are:

  • They changed their username or display name
  • You mistyped the proper spelling or format the username or display name is in
  • There is a technical glitch within the Instagram app or website

I Had Already Been Following an Account but Am Now Unfollowing It. Why?

If you were previously following someone’s account and went to their page to see you are no longer following them, one of these scenarios happened:

  • You accidentally unfollowed them and managed to tap the Unfollow button. If you did this, simply tap the Follow button.
  • They changed their profile settings, such as making it private. To resolve this situation, send them a request to follow them.
  • There are temporary technical in-app or website issues. To fix this, just refresh Instagram or sign out and back in.
  • They blocked you. The only solution here is to ask them to unblock you so you can follow them back, or wait until they decide to perhaps unblock you.

How Long Does It Take Before Instagram Will Let Me Follow Other Accounts Again?

Depending on what you did for Instagram to end up restricting or limiting your following abilities, it could take anywhere from 24 hours to several days, or longer. However, whatever timeframe it is, it will just be temporary.


You now know the answer to the question “Why can’t I follow someone on Instagram?” As you can see, there are many reasons for being unable to follow another account. Depending on your circumstances, there will be different solutions that will enable you to start following someone after being unable to.

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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