When Kate Lindello, a former photo stylist and creative director, founded her small business Noihsaf Bazaar more than a decade ago, Instagram seemed like the obvious platform to start a brand focused on peer-to-peer resale, where ethical fashion enthusiasts could find a community of like-minded individuals willing to trade and sell their clothing and accessories.
For years, it was a perfect match as Instagram's image-friendly layout helped propel the Duluth, Minnesota-based Noihsaf Bazaar from its humble roots in 2013 to a company that now boasts 46,000 followers, 2.5 million monthly impressions, and more than 200 daily posts, and has been profiled in The New York Times, Elite Daily and the Star Tribune.
But of late, Noihsaf's growth has been stunted. For the last three weeks, Lindello’s posts have been mysteriously disappearing on Instagram; she and her seven employees have often been locked out of the Noihsaf account and are prevented from consistently offering items for sale, which is costing the small business thousands of dollars in revenue. And Lindello has had a difficult time getting a straight answer as to why.
A spokeswoman for Instagram parent company Meta told Ad Age Noihsaf’s posts have likely been flagged because different contractors are logging into the account from different regions, triggering the platform’s hacker integrity checks.
Yet an Instagram support person told Lindello the posts were removed for inappropriate content and community violations. But the posts in question seemed innocent, including a scarf, a swimsuit and Lindello’s own updates to her followers about her accounts being down.
“Instagram is this gigantic app so they’re constantly rolling out features and updating their system and usually when an update happens, we trigger some kind of bot with how many posts we do,” Lindello said. “I don’t think we’re a big enough fish in the pond to get the help we need and part of me is always worried we’re going to be one of those cases, that account that just gets deleted and we never know why.”