opium bar toronto

Things go from bad to worse for Toronto bar after Instagram disables account

After building a following on Instagram for over two years, a Toronto restaurant owner was shocked to learn his account was disabled just as he was preparing for patio season reopening.

Michael Zhang, owner of The Opium Bar says he discovered on May 2 that the bar's Instagram account was disabled.

"There was no reason given to me at all," Zhang tells blogTO.

Every few days Zhang contacts Instagram asking why his account was disabled.

"They have not replied — nothing."

Oddly, another Toronto restaurant Pico de Gallo had their Instagram account hacked and lost thousands of followers around the same time.

The Opium Bar opened at the end of 2018 and grew their Instagram account to 1,500 followers.

"It is just so unfortunate that we have lost everything — and especially now, it is the opening (of patio service)."

They started a new account, @opiumbartoronto but it will take time to build it again. They now have about 60 followers.

"It is so frustrating and pathetic at the same time."

Instagram has a list of community guidelines such as not posting nude photos, hate speech or threats and "overstepping these boundaries may result in deleted content, disabled accounts, or other restrictions," they state.

But Zhang can't think of anything he may have posted that would have violated the guidelines. Basically, they post photos of food and drinks to promote the restaurant.

"We don't post anything political."

With lockdowns, they haven't been open since November so they haven't been active on Instagram.

Zhang is struggling to find a way to get back all the lost followers so he can tell them about the new opening hours — Thursday to Saturday on the patio — and keep customers up to date.

"We want to get back our followers so we can contact them again."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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