What to Do If Your Post Is Taken Down

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Written By Brian T. Edmondson, Esq.

Hi, I'm Brian. I'm an internet entrepreneur & lawyer. I write about all things internet business & law.

Hey, it’s Brian. This article is for informational purposes and is NOT legal advice, cool? Onto the article…

As a content creator, influencer, YouTuber, or Instagram star, your posts are the lifeblood of your business.

That’s where you reach your audience and create the compelling content that will grow your views and number of followers so you can monetize your channel.

And sponsored posts also bring in revenue and other rewards.

In short, your posts are the key to growing your online business. 

That’s why it’s such a big deal if one or more of your posts gets taken down. (By the way, receive too many violations like this and you could actually be banned from the platform altogether. So it definitely does not pay to ignore these notices.)

For example, this has been a hot-button topic in recent years, with sites like Facebook attempting to help stop the spread of misinformation during elections and the pandemic by monitoring and taking down posts. 

But takedowns can also be much more “pedestrian” when dealing with things like the improper use of copyrighted music.

In any case, you’ll no doubt receive a notice, usually via email or your inbox on the site, that a post has been taken down… and why. That gives you an opportunity to fix the situation and ensure that you don’t make the same mistake with future posts.

And that’s important because if you have too many violations, your whole channel or profile can be taken down for a period of time. That’s suspension. In extreme cases, you could even be banned… for life.

Fortunately, there are remedies if one of your posts is removed from a social media platform. And these can be great guidelines to avoid similar problems in the future.

But before we get into those solutions, let’s take a look at the reasons why this might happen to you.

Why Might Your Social Media Posts Be Taken Down

As a user of a social media platform, you have agreed to adhere to the site’s terms and conditions. The surest way to have a post taken down is to violate those rules.

Violating Terms and Conditions

This is a case where you can be proactive and prevent posts from being taken down…before that’s ever a concern. Just be sure to read up on what you can post and what you can’t on a certain platform. 

I’m not talking about reading that long, legalese text that they sent you when you set up your account. I recently saw that it would take well over and hour to actually read the full text of Instagram’s terms of service, by the way. 

Each social media site has its own explainer page that boils it down to the basics. Just make sure to read through it and follow the rules.

For the most part, this is about not including nudity, violence, or other similar graphic content. For most users, this should not be an issue.

Copyrighted Material

One of the most common ways you can receive a takedown notice for your posts is when you use copyrighted material.

Music, video clips, or other protected content that you don’t own… that can all get you in trouble.

This sort of post is usually identified automatically – and then removed just as automatically. 

Improperly Labeled Sponsored Content

A sure way to draw the ire of social media platforms is by posting paid endorsements of products or brands without proper attribution.

Every time you receive compensation, whether it is money or free or discounted products or services, in return for a post, that must be clearly labeled in the post with terms like ad, paid ad, or sponsored content.

This is a rule from the Federal Trade Commission that sites take very seriously. And following it also creates trust with your audience.

Offensive or Inappropriate Material

When it comes to social media, one of the major benefits is that it makes it easy to share content of all types around the world. That’s why it’s such a great avenue for doing business online.

But there are types of content that should not be shared on “mainstream” sites like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. And these sites have taken a strong stance against certain types of content. Never, ever post:

  • Anything that is sexually explicit or with nudity
  • Images of violence or torture
  • Illegal activity
  • Hate speech or anything promoting hate groups or hate crimes
  • Extremist sites, like terrorist organizations or gangs
  • Anything that promotes dangerous behavior

In some cases, there is a fine line with what is considered inappropriate. Some political or social commentators have complained that they have had posts taken down because of their views.

I’ll leave that up to the court of public opinion to decide. But if you’re in the business of being an influencer, this isn’t something you’ll probably have to worry about. Just be aware.

What to Do If Your Post Is Taken Down

So how do you handle a post being taken down? As I said, the platform will inform you that this has happened and will probably give you a reason why. 

Your next step is to look at the post closely. You might very well agree with the site’s assessment.

Perhaps you did use copyrighted material, for example. In that case, you can modify the content and then repost. And then keep this lesson in mind for the future. Easy.

But if you don’t feel that the takedown was justified, you should contact the site directly. In your social media platform account, you’ll see a spot to do so. There should also be a link in the violation notice they sent you. There you’ll explain why you feel the takedown was not correct. 

In the case of the copyrighted material, for example, you could argue that your post actually falls under “fair use,” which does allow you to incorporate copyrighted works if it is transformative, educational, commentary, and the like (see fair use for content creators).

Whatever your reasoning, just be sure to be detailed and specific in your reinstatement request. 

Do keep in mind that sites use a mix of AI and human moderators to monitor their platforms for posts to take down. But any reviews are handled by people. That’s why an appeal can be well worth the time. Often, AI can be wrong.

Next, this human moderator will either agree with your argument reinstate the post, or explain why they feel the takedown was merited.

If your appeal fails, that’s pretty much the end of the line. These platforms pretty much hold all the cards. 

Your only next step would be legal action.