This week saw the 28th user of Instagram – that’s right, he’s been using Instagram for longer than everyone except for 27 other people – get locked out of his Instagram because an automatic content checker deemed that he had shared one of the worst and most criminal things you could share not just on social media but in the world. M.G. Siegler shares his story on his blog and email, Spyglass, and just as well he actually operates his own website, blog, and email list, so he actually had a chance of ever telling the story.

M.G. Siegler's banned account screenshot

You might see my online presence and call me prolifically online, and you might not be wrong (booking weddings puts food in my kids mouths), but I also hold a deep distrust of companies like Meta and Google, companies that give so much away for free, companies that we invest so much of our brand capital into, but there are close to zero incentives for them to honour the bargain.

Apple is better but only barely – they’re a big corporation that can turn their cheek on a whim, but at least I have a financial relationship with Apple. I could take legal action, or even just walk into an Apple Store, to deal with an issue like accidental account deletion.

Companies like UniSuper aren’t even immune to accidental deletion curse, but luckily they have a Google Cloud account manager because I’m sure they spend thousands of dollars a year with Google. The incentives to help and serve change when you charge a fee. They also change when you’re not a “big corporate”.

That’s the reason I moved all of my email from Google to Fastmail a few years ago. From a big corporation in California who has a history of accidentally deleting accounts – it happened to a photographer friend of mine a few years ago and he never got it back, even with my help – to a medium sized business in Melbourne that also happens to be a world-renowned email host.

[If you’re interested in Fastmail, my referral link gives you 10% off]

It’s also the reason I started the Rebels Guide email a few years ago, to gather couples off Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even away from Google. I’ve written about this twice before on the Celebrant Institute, once about how Google considered leaving Australia, and Facebook actually did it in a small way.

The old joke to an influencer was that if Instagram stopped existing tomorrow would you still be a model. My question for you is, if Google, Instagram, Facebook, Threads, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, or X left Australia or stopped existing tomorrow, would you still be a celebrant?

That’s why I so actively work towards email deliverability – making sure our emails stay out of spam – and convincing all of you to sign up for the free monthly email letter.

[We use Buttondown for our emails, love it, and this link gifts you a $9 credit on your account]

For the sakes of feeding our kids and booking weddings we can’t leave these networks today (you can leave Gmail though, just saying) but you can start to build a world where you’re not reliant on them.