Facebook & Instagram make up the rules as they go, but not everyone likes it

Facebook & Instagram make up the rules as they go, but not everyone likes it

This week, I wanted to create an Instagram account for a tourism destination on my iPhone 5 but I wasn’t allowed.

I’d taken a few steps – adding a new email address and username – but when it came to confirmation, I received an error message:

“Too many users have been registered on this device.”

Who knew there was a limit? Not me, until receiving that message. Then, I went on to forums and discovered many other social media managers who had fallen foul of an unspoken rule.

The rules of running multiple accounts are now changing faster than ever on the Facebook/Instagram duopoly that dominates social media. Well, that’s fine for the social media giant, but no so much for the legions of travel social media managers who have to juggle several accounts.

No longer does a travel brand have one account for customers. Now the boss has one to, as do the sub brands, the staff, entertainment boss and possibly the ship’s cat. And it’s usually one person who co-ordinates them, the social media guru.

Earlier this year, Instagram actually listened to these media managers and enabled up to five accounts to be managed from one device. Previously, it had been necessary to log out completely and log back in to each different account. Now it’s just one touch.

Well done Instagram! Well, not quite. I have three Instagram accounts that I manage from my phone – mine, my wife’s cut flower business and IgersDorset– the Instagram community in my home county.

That should mean I have space to run two more, you might think. But no, because I have created and deleted several other accounts over the past few years, even though I had deleted them, the record of those accounts persist with Instagram.

I can no longer create another account on my phone, I must borrow someone else’s. Or, according to one forum post, buy a new smartphone and start with a clean slate. Perhaps it’s a sign that a three-year-old iPhone 5 needs replacing.

Another spanner in the admin life of a social media manager is Facebook. It’s changed the rules on liking/following when administering several pages. This is the issue:

I have a personal Facebook page, and I am an administrator on six other pages. But I can only like/follow from my own page according to a recent change on Facebook.

This Facebook business forum thread reveals more howls of indignation from put-upon Managers just trying to do the job their travel boss tells them. There is a workaround, as ever, but many say it’s unnecessarily complicated.

This is the answer, thanks to helpful poster Hannah Wiley:

  • If your page is connected to your business manager, you MUST access it from WITHIN business manager (you wont see it on your page outside of business manager)
  • On the RIGHT-hand side of page, under number of likes & number of follows it says “SEE PAGES FEED”. Click on that link
  • Then it will take you to a page with a green button that says “like other pages” click that button
  • Then you will have to manually type in the name of each page you want to like.

This is the only way that “liking another page as my page” has worked for me. The other method of clicking the 3 dots, then choosing to “like page as my page” only gives me insufficient error messages. Why does FACEBOOK make the user experience so painful??

And so say all of us. With Facebook or Instagram now the core of social media platforms, the onus is surely on making as easy as possible for the user, not the engineer.

Don’t you think?

Or do you think that, as with a car manufacturer, the company is entitled to tweak, upgrade and roll out ‘improvements’ as it sees fit?  These are big changes and, in the case of limiting Instagram launches on a single device, seriously disruptive.

I can imagine the response of the boss in asking for a new smartphone because of the rule change. But then the boss knows social media creation and monitoring on the biggest platforms is a full-time and serious job.

We have to live with the changes. But shouldn’t Facebook or Instagram ask us first?

Tagged .

Steve Keenan has been a travel journalist for 25 years. He started at a Reed paper, news editing at Travel News in London - now Travel Weekly - having spent a decade reporting general news in the UK and abroad. He also taught English in Peru, delivered cars in the USA, ran the Sydney desk at AAP and took the train home from Hong Kong. He left Travel News in 1990 to freelance for several publications, including The Times of London, which he later joined as deputy travel editor. In December 2004, he became the first national digital travel editor in the UK, running the combined travel website of The Times and Sunday Times. The introduction of a paywall at the papers in 2010 persuaded him that the connected world might continue outside of Wapping and he left to co-found Travel Perspective. The company runs the social media seminars at World Travel Market London, and works with Reed Expos and others in helping the travel and tourism industry best communicate stories in all forms of publishing.


  1. Social media is an never ending headache due to all the changes that are happening.

    Thanks for this useful information as I was unaware of the Instagram limit.

    Always something new to learn 😀

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