Instagram gives users the ability to direct message each other on the app through a direct messaging system. These direct message chats are visible only to the users involved in the conversation. This is a great way to have a more intimate chat with someone on the application.
One of the safety features that Instagram has implemented is to help keep the direct messaging system free of harassment or inappropriate behavior by restricting the messaging ability between users that do not currently follow each other, provided they meet certain other conditions.
What Does “You Cant Message This Account Unless They Follow You” Mean on Instagram?
Users who have attempted to message a user that they do not currently follow that meets certain criteria will be met with the “You Cant Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification.
This is to indicate to the user that they have attempted to message someone that they are currently not allowed to. This is generally not caused by an error, though it is possible, but simply a security standard that Instagram has set in place to ensure the safety of all users.
A common complaint from users of the app is this restriction. It can make getting in touch with people difficult, as not every conversation you have on Instagram will be with someone that you care to follow.
Users have also complained about the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification being displayed when users are trying to message them, restricted from potential messages they could receive.
If you use Instagram for business or to make connects in you career, it could be a good thing to get a message from someone you do not necessarily know. The direct message could be a job offer or some type of potential opportunity that you will miss out on because the app will not deliver the message to you. Yo
u often have no way of anticipating when someone will direct message you, so it can be hard to follow users in advance to ensure that you receive any correspondence from them.
It is important to understand the causes of this notification so that you can anticipate any potential missed messages. Some of the most common reasons for the error notification to be displayed and the troubleshooting methods used to resolve the issue have been broken down in detail below.
If People Are Seeing the Error When Trying To Message You
The next part of this guide will cover the many causes of the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification and the recommended troubleshooting method for gaining the proper permissions to message an account.
1. You Are Not Following Them
As the notification implies, if you are not following a user that you have attempted to message it is possible to receive the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” error, indicating that your message does not have permission to be sent.
If you have received a message from a user that does not currently follow you, it is likely that you will not receive it due to these restrictions.
This can make it difficult to anticipate messages from users that you do not currently follow, so keep that in mind if you are depending on Instagram to put you in touch with potential business opportunities that might be sent from strangers.
Solution: Follow The Person And Ask Them To Message You Again
If you are expecting a message from someone that you do not currently follow, and fear that you have missed it due to the direct messaging restrictions, you should follow the account and send them a message yourself or wait for them to message you again.
The user will be notified that you have currently followed them, prompting them to re-message you should they feel the need too. This is a simple solution to the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification error.
2. Your Birthday Is Not Set to 18+
Instagram is advertised as an all-ages application, encouraging younger users to make accounts and enjoy the platform.
To facilitate a safe environment for minors on the app, there have been some restrictions set on the way that other accounts can interact with an account of a user under the age of 18.
Users under the age of 18 will automatically have all messages restricted sent by users who they do not currently follow. This is to ensure the safety of underage Instagram users and help avoid any inappropriate interactions on the application. This is an important safety measure that can cut down on potentially predatory behavior.
If someone has notified you that they have attempted to send a direct message to your account and been met with the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification, it is likely due to the automatic restrictions placed on your account by Instagram.
Solution: Set Your Birthday to 18+
Keep in mind that if you are in fact a minor using the Instagram app, you should avoid manually setting your birthdate to indicate that you are 18 or older. Doing so could potentially put your safety at risk.
That being said, Instagram does give you the ability to change your birthday. If you did not set a proper birthday when creating your account, you can go into your profile settings and correct any birthdate issues that might be causing Instagram to flag your account as a minor.
If you have your birthday set to under 18, you will not be able to receive messages from users you do not follow and they will receive the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification when they attempt to.
3. Your Birthday Is Not Set To 18+ On Facebook
As previously mentioned, if you are an Instagram user under the age of 18, you will not be able to receive messages from users that you do not follow. The same applies if the birthday you have provided on Facebook indicates that you are currently a minor.
Instagram and Facebook can access account information across both apps to determine what age to attribute to your account.
If either of the ages on these apps is set to below the age of 18, users who message you that you do not follow will be met with the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification.
Solution: Change Your Age On Facebook To 18+
Just like on the Instagram app, it is generally not advised that you alter your birthdate information to reflect an age above 18 if you are a minor. These restrictions are put into place to help ensure the safety of underage users on the application. These measures help cut down on harassment and potential predatory behavior.
You can alter your Facebook birthday to reflect an age above the age of 18 in your profile settings. This will allow Instagram to access the new birthday information and allow users to message you that you do not follow.
4. Someone Too Young Is Trying To Message You
Instagram is quite serious when it comes to the safety and security of their underage users. If someone trying to message you is below the age of 18, they will be met with the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification, indicating that the message is not allowed to be sent.
Instagram not only takes your underage status into account but also that of users who are attempting to send you direct messages. This is a safety measure put in place for both you and the underaged user.
Solution: Ask Them To Message You
Depending on your relationship with the underaged user currently attempting to message you, it could be a viable option to move the conversation off of Instagram.
There are often additional restrictions on underage accounts that could prevent you from following them so that you can receive their messages. If this is the case, considering using a different messaging system to communicate.
5. They Have Been Messaging Too Many People
Instagram has strict limits on the amount of messages that a user can send in a day. If a user has gone over this limit, they will not be allowed to message you and be displayed the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification.
This limitation is put into place to help cut down on the number of unwanted direct messages that users can sometimes encounter while using the Instagram application.
This is error is especially prevalent for users who message a high number of accounts they do not currently follow in a short period of time.
Solution: Tell Them To Wait A While And Try The Message Again
If someone has currently tried to message you and let you know that they received the error, then ask them how many direct messages they believe they have sent that day.
Even if they do not have an exact number, if they indicate that it has been a large quantity, you should suggest that they wait for a while and try to message you again. This can let the Instagram cooldown run its course, allowing the user to message you with not issue.
If You Are Seeing The Error While Messaging Someone
1. They Are Not Following You
As the notification implies, if someone is not following you and they meet certain criteria, you will find that you are unable to message them and receive the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification.
Solution: Wait For Them To Follow You
The only solution to this problem is to wait and hope that the user follows you. Only then will you be allowed to send messages to this account.
Since you cannot message the user to ask them to follow you due to the restrictions, you should try reaching out to them another way and let them know that you are receiving the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification when trying to message them.
2. Their Birthday Is Not Set to 18+
Instagram has strict restrictions put into place to dictate the type of activity that is allowed for underaged accounts. One of the restrictions is to automatically reject all messages from users that they do not currently follow, regardless of age.
This helps give underage users of the Instagram application the ability to pick and choose who they interact with on the app, based on who they follow. Safety measures like these are not put in place to hinder users of the application, but to ensure the safety of all underage users.
You will find that any user that you attempt to message that is under the age of 18 is rejected, and you will be displayed the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification.
Solution: Tell Them To Make Their Birthday 18+
You should exercise caution when advising an underaged user on the Instagram app to alter their birthday to reflect an age above 18. Bypassing these safety measures can put the user at risk while using the Instagram application and open the door to potential harassment.
That being said, you can suggest that they change their birthday on Instagram to show that they are above 18. You will then be able to message each other with no further issues.
3. There Is An Age Restriction And You Are Too Young To Message Them
If you are an Instagram user with an account that indicates you are under the age of 18, you will not be able to message accounts users you do not follow, no matter what their age. This might seem like a rather strict restriction, but it is vital to the safety of minors on the app.
For users of the Instagram application under the age of 18, you will have to be followed by any accounts that you wish to send message with. It is generally not advised to try and bypass this restriction if you are in fact a minor.
Solution: Message Them On A Different Platform
As previously stated, it is not advised that you attempt to bypass restrictions that keep underaged users from communicating with adults on the Instagram application. Depending on your situation, it might be viable to move the conversation to a less restrictive chat platform. There you can communicate without any further issue.
4. Instagram Has Limited You For Messaging Too Many People
Instagram has restriction on many activities on the app to help cut down on spam and potential bot accounts.
Messaging too many people can throw up red flags with Instagram’s security algorithm, leading your account to become limited and the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification to be displayed when trying to message users you do not currently follow.
Solution: Stop Messaging And Wait For Your Limit To Be Removed
The only solution to an Instagram limit is to wait for the limit to run its course. Do not try and bypass your current restrictions by using another account, or you could risk even longer limits or potential account bans.
5. You Have Hit The DM Limit
You can direct message around 100 people in 24 hours. Any attempts to send messages that exceed this limit can cause your messaging privileges to be limited. This could cause the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification to be displayed when you try to message someone that you do not currently follow.
Solution: Wait 24 Hours Before You Start Messaging Again
Like any Instagram limit, the only way to get around it is to wait for the limit to expire. How long you are limited will depend on if you have been limited in the past but will generally last for a few minutes to a few hours. You should wait at least 24 hours before attempting to message again if you have hit the maximum DM limit.
6. You Have Encountered A Bug
Bugs and glitches are prevalent in all applications. These types of errors could affect your messaging permissions, causing the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification to be displayed incorrectly.
If you believe this is the case, there are a few troubleshooting methods you can try to attempt to resolve the issue.
7. Restart The Instagram Application
Simply restarting the Instagram application can help end any potential run-time errors that could be causing issues with your messaging permissions. A full restart of the application gives it the chance to resolve any of these types of errors and start fresh.
8. Log Out and In
Most account permission errors can be solved by logging out and back in. This gives Instagram the chance to consolidate any account access errors that could potentially affect your ability to send messages.
9. Clear Your Cache
Your Instagram cache is where it stores data detailing various aspect of your account. Files in your cache can become corrupted, causing errors in functionality while using the application. Clearing your cache will empty it of any such file, which can solve many messaging permission errors.
10. Use Instagram.com
Sometimes you can solve your issues by changing the way that you are attempting to access Instagram. If you are having trouble messaging people using the app, try using the desktop version of the website and see if that solves your issue.
11. Use Another Account
Using another account can help you bypass many account messaging issues. Sometimes the error could be associated with your account and not the Instagram application itself. If that is the case then using an alternative account will give you back the access that you believe you have been restricted from incorrectly.
This guide has broken down in detail the many reasons for the “You Can’t Message This Account Unless They Follow You” notification to be displayed. You now have all the knowledge you need to avoid and troubleshoot this issue, should you experience it while using the Instagram application.