How to Avoid Pinterest Jail

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You’ve heard the tales. Maybe it’s happened to your sister. Or maybe your friend had a friend that it happened to. Or maybe it’s even happened to you. One day you’re just doing your thing on Pinterest, and BAM – you’re locked out of your account.

Having your account frozen, or being put in “Pinterest jail”, can happen to anyone if you’re not careful. In this post, we go through the most common reasons people are locked out of their account, and how you can avoid being thrown in Pinterest jail.

How to Avoid Pinterest Jail

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Don’t Steal Images

While this may seem obvious, many pinners steal images without realizing what they’re doing is wrong. There are a number of unintentional ways users actually violate copyrights:

  1. Pinning from a site that doesn’t have the proper source. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to stumble upon pages that pull in images without linking to the original source. If the page is flagged as spam by Pinterest, you could be penalized for pinning from that. Watch out for nonsensical Tumblr pages (often pages with a username that’s seems to be a random set of letters and has no flow) and websites that use too many irrelevant affiliate links.
  2. Repurposing content from other social platforms.  Did you see a hilarious cat meme on Facebook and now you want to share it on Pinterest? Well, before simply saving it and uploading it to Pinterest, be sure you know what URL the pin should be directed towards. Otherwise, someone could claim it as their own and flag your content.
  3. Relying on Google for images. It can be tempting to jump on Google image search, type in the picture you’re looking for, and take the best image that pops up to promote your site on Pinterest. However, if someone notices that the image isn’t your own, they could report your account and you could even end up in Pinterest jail. To avoid this, you can use free stock photo and editing sites like Unsplash, Canva and Splitshire to find royalty-free images.

Don’t Mass Follow/Unfollow

Back in the early days of Pinterest marketing, there were tips floating around that the best way to gain followers was to follow a lot of them, then unfollow those who don’t follow you back. Following and unfollowing in bulk can get your Pinterest account suspended in no-time flat. Not only is it annoying for those being mass followed/unfollowed, it’s also going to clutter your news feed with potentially irrelevant content making repinning – a vital part of Pinterest marketing – practically impossible.

Only Use Third-Party Apps Approved By Pinterest

There are only a handful of third-party apps that Pinterest has included in their Business Insights API. These apps are the only ones that have direct and approved access to Pinterest’s data. Companies that ask for your Pinterest password for pin scheduling or scrape Pinterest’s data to gain analytics information are actually in violation of Pinterest’s terms of service. Using an app that goes against Terms of Service has resulted in users accounts being frozen, and can be dangerous to your online identity. So why risk it? Go ahead and give one of the approved apps, like Tailwind, a try.

Don’t Repeatedly Comment with Links

I’ll go ahead and admit it. I’m actually guilty of being suspended by Pinterest for commenting too often. Back when I was a young, naive Pinterest marketer, I thought it would be a good idea to comment on pins related to social media marketing with a blog post I’d written. Even though the link was relevant to the pin, it’s still a pretty obnoxious thing to do. Pinterest cares deeply about the quality of your time on the site, so behavior like that is not tolerated. If you must comment with a link, be sure it’s extremely relevant and do not do it very often!

Have you ended up in Pinterest jail? Tell your tale in the comments!

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Melissa Megginson is resident Community Manager and Cat Lady at Tailwind, the leading Pinterest & Instagram tool for brands. Melissa specializes in affiliate marketing, public speaking, and making our members look good. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MelMegg.

82 thoughts on “How to Avoid Pinterest Jail

  1. Great tips! Following in moderation (that is, just a few accounts a day), and then cleaning up later still works. The key with pinterest is just consistency, it seems–you *might* grow a following really fast if you have some luck with viral content, but otherwise, it’s just steady efforts. Thank you for the list of approved third-party apps, too–very helpful!

    1. I definitely agree – following in moderation is a great way to build your profile! As long as it’s in a more targeted way and not just clicking “Follow” on every profile in sight, you can end up with a great following and a great feed. Thanks for reading 🙂

    1. Hi Kristie

      I am sorry to ask, how many boards per an hour did you follow so Pinterest suspended your account, and for how long?

      1. Roxanne – you can have as many boards as you would like! The problem comes when you follow a ton of boards at once 🙂

        1. HI Melissa the number of Boards is actually 500.. please see TOS ; it is not as many as you like ….please rectify this statement

          1. Yes the limit is 500 boards, which I found out recently. They cut me off at 350 boards probably a year ago…then I was suddenly allowed to create more boards and then recently it stopped me at 500 boards. Out of curiosity, do you know what the reasoning is behind limiting the number of boards you can have?? To me, it does not make sense!! :0) Thanks!!

  2. I also ended up in jail VERY early on by going through my website’s pins and thanking people for pinning. A lot. It was shockingly hard to get out, too, and I wasn’t allowed to do anything until I was.

    1. Oh wow – I’m surprised they penalized you for that. Glad you’re out now, though! Thanks for reading 🙂

    1. Hey Diane- as far as I’ve seen, it’s only current behavior. So as long as you’re following the rules going forward, you should be good 🙂

  3. I comment frequently thanking people who share original content but have never gotten in jail. Commenting has it’s advantages and brings results which is why I increased the amount, I may put a cap on comments.. Good to know and great post.

    1. From what I’ve noticed, commenting a “thank you” is ok as long as long as you don’t go too crazy 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  4. There is a software programme called , which allows someone to follow 240 pinners per hour , is this legal? Also I see on my “News” Pinterest tell me about Pinners following upwards of 3500 pinners , why are they telling me this if it is illegal? It looks like Pinterest is encouraging pinners to mass follow!

  5. What nonsense is this. I thought this was supposed to be fun. If in “jail” how does one get “out”?

  6. Wow. I have to admit that this post caught me quite off guard. The truth is that in my ignorance I have done many of these things BUT my intention has always been innocent. MY PURPOSE for my pinterest boards has been MY PLEASURE! I am not out to make money, nor even to “collect” followers. I am simply creating boards that please me, and are relevant to me. I upload and repin as I like, and I even encourage (POSITIVE ONLY) comments from people BECAUSE it is about pleasure. This nonsense about “jail” sounds like it comes from those selfish pinners who put a limit on how many pins you can “steal” from them. I thought this was MY profile, and that it was supposed to be pleasant for me to experience. I have no problem with sharing my boards for people to enjoy too, but I am not building them to benefit from that.

    1. I keep those boards that matter most to me secret. That way, I don’t have to worry about anyone following them or repinning content from them. Or copyright issues.

      1. Haha, Victoria, forget about “Secret”….I had a board named “Kink” and the pinterest snoops were forever peeking in it….I wasn’t showing genitals or anything else forbidden, but of course the way people were amusing themselves

        was interesting to say the least. Didn’t matter so I said the hell with it and made it public. Now I’ve been suspended, and they don’t even have the courtesy to tell me why.

  7. Well, I’m feeling totally out of touch/cync/ignorance or something………what are 3rd party apps????

  8. Joe Inserra
    a few seconds ago
    Hi there I’m sorry what happened to you guys I’m going through the same thing I lost my account and nobody shouldnt lose thier account thinking your stuff is they turn everything into nightmares I had everything my family photos my pictures that I don’t even have any more they’re on the site and they suspended me for no reason nothing at all it was gone and I miss you so much I wish I could get it back just terrible for what they done I’ve been crying and crying and I’ve been wanting their help and no one’s helping me out please help me I don’t understand I want my account back I’ve been fighting over a man for 6 months now made more and they keep disappearing made more and keep disappearing what’s the point I will never be nothing or not do anything anymore I used to love Pinterest for now I hate it for what they done to me and other people everyone should get their account back I wish you could sign petitions or something like that to get your account back I wish I could get it back I just wish I can
    0 Edit Reply

    2 years ago
    I like Pinterest a lot but it really is the worst social media site I’ve ever experiened. They continuously suspend accounts without telling exactly why… The response is generally late and incomplete. It is very frustrating bcse you continuously loose you

  9. My Pinterest account (only 10 boards and very few followers/following) vanished completely, but I managed to find it by searching in Pinterest Everything for someone I knew I had pinned then scrolling down through all the pictures until I found my own original pin and therefore me. So now I can look at my boards by I can’t add anything to them. Does this mean I’m in jail? I’m also guilty of using Google (but only the pictures that said “pin it”). I am really sad about losing my account – and for everyone else losing theirs – and sad that Pinterest never even acknowledged my plea for help. My boards are very personal and adding to them was a pleasure, now lost.

    1. I keep those boards that matter most to me secret. Less chance of violating Pinterest rules when pinning to them.

  10. I recently was suspended for copyright infractions, even though I didn’t steal anyone’s work. I would never do anything like that. It turns out that several years ago, when Pinterest first really took off, I pinned some photos from a blog. The credit to the blog owner was on the pin, and the link went straight to her blog. Then recently, the blogger discovered two people who pinned a ridiculous number of photos from her blog, and she contacted Pinterest. Rather than just penalizing the two people, multiple people who pinned things got notices. I’ve had these before, and never did anything, which was fine, but for whatever reason, this time I was supposed to respond. I missed that, not having taken the time to read all the legalize and fine print in this ordinary looking but unknown to me, important email from Pinterest. I found out that my account was “in safe mode” because of “some strange activity” on my account when I tried to pin something. It took over a week of emails, repeating instructions from the “help” section on Pinterest, etc. to finally be told that I was going to be able to keep my account (I guess that was up for debate) but that I was being suspended for 14 days. I still have no idea what I did that was wrong. I contacted the blogger and was told that I definitely wasn’t the one who the complaint was about, that it was mainly two people, but that since you can’t contact people individually on Pinterest, everyone who pinned something “got caught in the sweep”. You can contact individuals, though, with a comment or a message! Anyway, I felt like a kid who got sent to the principal in school or something. And after all of that, there are still a few pins from this blog on my board, but I can’t remove them because I’m still suspended. I loved Pinterest when I first discovered it, and have always followed the rules. This incident took the fun out of it for me a little.

    1. Hi Alex,

      I hope this message find you well. The same situation happened to us too. We are still in this 14 days suspension period. Would you mind telling me what happened next after your suspension period? Did you get your account back? Can you continue using the same account? I contacted Pinterest support, so far no response. Any suggestions from you would be greatly appreciated. 🙂 Best, Nicole

  11. Lmao my account has been suspended for almost a year and it’s still ‘in jail’.

    Pinterest needs to chillax, we’re not all out for people’s “Copyright”, jesus,

    I can’t even see pinterest content for my drawings, but if i sign up i gotta worry about getting suspended, i’m sure doing nothing will get me in trouble. Hate sites like that, tight*ass just like Youtube.

  12. So, if I scrape my own Pinterest page so that I can back up my images, will I get put in jail?

  13. I had full access to my Pinterest all weekend….all of a sudden this morning – I’m suspended…..without notification….without explanation….without response.

  14. Pinterest are useless. They suspended my account for no reason one month ago and have not fixed the situation despite over 10 requests to their “help” team. With over 20K pins on 50 board meticulously developed over 3 years, I’m mega-pissed at their lack of communication, action or explanation. Pinterest are known for their lack of customer support and now you can chalk me up as another completely annoyed customer. They’ve had commercial problems monetizing their platform and the poor customer service, arrogant treatment of loyal users and heavy-handed approach makes me wish they continue to lose millions of dollars. Bring on the competitor that respects customers and Pinterest will disappear into the ether. Good riddance!

    1. I agree – I HAD around 300 boards, last look, now I’ve forgot. I was trying to re-arrange them better, so I liked the way my boards looked. I was gone a few days, hubby in the hosp., came back and blank, white everything!! NOTHING there. This is just too crazy. I am thinking about just deleting my Pinterest icon and be done with it. Maybe there will be a new/same type of company to float it where they fall down. I HAD so many pics that I really liked and never put a limit on them to anyone. I thought that might have been the problem – but now that I’ve read a few more things, I’m wondering about my making “comments”. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that. I thought it would be part of the whole picture. I never made nasty comments, though. I really am just flustered !

    1. I’m so sorry this happened, Ash! Unfortunately there’s no specific time frame for being suspended, but once the suspension is lifted you can see the Pins that were flagged and stay away from that certain domain or style of Pin. Often people are suspended without warning, so hopefully you can figure out what happened from those emails!

        1. From what we’ve seen people do get their account back, but unfortunately there’s no way to know how long it will take. My best advice is to keep reaching out to Pinterest’s help team and hopefully you’ll be able to get your account back soon!

          1. Yes, thankfully… after sending tons of emails… my account was finally unsuspended however; Pinterest yet hasn’t replied to my mails…

            My account:

            All you have to do is jeep contacting their help service and then regularlychecking to see if your account is yet blocked

          2. Hi Ash,

            Thank you for responding to me. They responded to my email and claimed I was spamming. I don’t know how I can spam buy posting to my own boards and paying for their marketing campaigns but I am going to promote my business without them. I tried requesting a refund but they closed my ticket and marked it resolved as soon as I tried to make the request. They are very shadey. I’ll spend my ad and marketing dollars on Facebook and other mediums.

          3. another thing to notice is that they specified that i have 7 days so appeal for my account, and it’s already been 5 today

    2. Well, at least they gave you a warning ( or warnings, sorry ). Many of us, me for one, has just been shut down, no warning or reason!

      1. Their help service is literally dead!! So many emails… but not one freaking reply!! It’s getting on meh nerves. All I can do now is chat with My few Pinterest friends who are also on WeChat!! My account was so Successful!!

          1. No… there just wasn’t any reply… I came to know after a week from my friends that my account was finally unblocked

        1. That could have happened, I guess. When I never heard from them, after asking them what I had done to have them do this, I asked them to please remove my photo, as it was mine, and I can’t do a thing on that account. A friend of mine looked at my account and said, it was all white -nothing- except my photograph. So, I asked Pinterest to remove it. They still hadn’t, yet they sent me an e-mail, asking me to, “Rate their support”. I gave it a “bad” rating, and said why would you ask this, you still have done nothing for me! As of today, Jan 30th, still no contact. I’m guessing I’ll be looking for something else. All those wonderful pics, GONE! It is a grave disappointment, Pinterest!

          1. O.K., I’ve just tried, again. You know how people always say, if you’re negative about this or that, expect negative reactions? Well, right now, trying NOT to be, so we’ll see. I’ve checked my spam, I do everyday, because I clear it out, before looking who it was from. I really appreciate your firm support in this matter. I really just have a hard time understanding why a company would do this, and to so many, and for what reason? I’ve read everything that I could find about why you’d get suspended, except for posting “More Than One Pin” at a time, well, so many people do that anyway; but to suspend a pinner for that?? Truthfully, if they ever forgive me for whatever reason, I don’t think I’ll enjoy being on Pinterest again, as I’ve been in the past! When this first happened , and to so many, as I read about it on different sites, I really thought that Pinterest had just went down, for whatever reason, that it would be resolved, shortly.

          2. Elaine – Sending positive thoughts your way so you can get this resolved and start pinning again. It is really frustrating when you can’t get things resolved but this Pinterest help center can really work well. If they can’t resolve the issue, they’ll forward it directly to Pinterest for assistance.

          3. Tried to click on that, but it was a page you had to “log on” to; no area to register, etc. I tried clicking on her photo, but nothing.

          4. Peg, I had to get back to you to let you know Pinterest finally contacted me. After many times I’d contacted them asking them to please just tell me if I’m suspended forever, or what. I was, still am, so shocked. They said I’d broken their policy against ( OH MY GOD) sexually explicit with minors!! I can’t believe that!! This is not what I pin. I still believe someone did this to me. Is this possible? I really don’t think I can go back on Pinterest thinking they think I did this. I am so sick to my stomach, you just don’t know!! HOW can I tell if someone did this to my account (?), because I know I didn’t post such degrading filth. I only opened this e-mail just now, as I’ve been really busy today; just didn’t have the time to go on my e-mail. They said they’d give me another chance to follow their policies, etc., but I just can’t.

          5. I just noticed in my e-mail again, one from pinterest asking me to “rate their help”. WHAT am I supposed to do? I checked my Pinterest Login and again it stated my account is suspended. I tried going thru Google, as it was another option; didn’t work there, either. When I first tried to go on thru my pinterest username and password, I got a popup message stating, “That doesn’t look like an e-mail or phone number”. Well, no it wasn’t; I didn’t sign up with that info. I keep a booklet of all my usernames and passwords, and looked at it there, first. So, I put in my e-mail address, and then my password; up comes the side bar box stating my account is suspended. I haven’t answered their question, yet with either to “Rate Their Help” with a Good or Bad. I don’t know what to say on their e-mail. I can’t find anywhere, where they have told me anything about anything. Any suggestions? I am 73, and not that savvy about all of this.

          6. Elaine,
            Is it saying your account is suspended? Or you can’t log in? Did you try logging in with Facebook? Many times people forget that they logged in through Facebook and accidentally open a second account. Then they think their account is gone but it’s really there under the original log in.

            If your account is suspended, that means you may have broken a rule from the Acceptable Use Policy:

            For the Pinterest help rating, I would respond to that and say that your account issue has not been resolved so you can’t rate their service yet.

            The way to get this resolved is to send a message to this help center: – you will get an email response from them. Add these two email addresses [email protected] and [email protected] to your email contacts. You can also search your email for those email addresses and you might find your past email communications with them.

          7. NO, never logged on from Facebook; hardly go there. Facebook and Pinterest have two different passwords and two different usernames. Although, now Pinterest does not recognize my username, either. I tried at the Help Center, tried to put a message in and then a screen came up and it said, “Done”. It didn’t let me in at all. Never had but one e-mail address, with Pinterest ! I have repeatedly asked them to contact me and let me know why my account was suspended. They do not contact me, personally, only by the way of “Rate our Support”. I’ve been double checking each and every Spam item; no contact there from them, either. It’s just hard to believe that they would send that one client so many warnings (the one who showed us those warnings on her post), and yet, others, like myself, get NO WARNING, but cut them off from their account. I just don’t get it! I’ve just about run out of patience. I believe they’ve wiped everything I had clean, and we’re “Done”!

          8. No, not my account. I don’t know what my last name and first 2 initials are there for. The “79/boa … don’t know any connection to that part.

          9. I don’t understand this at all. Does this mean my account might have been hacked? The reason I’m wondering now, is because we recently got a notice from Life-Lock that our account had been, somehow viewed, I forget their terminology right now, but they said it was with Experian, and that what ever password I used with them and the same password other places I should change all of them. I don’t know how things like this even happen. But, it makes me wonder, now.

          10. Oh, in answer to that first question; they do not let me log in; just put up that little side window that says my account is suspended. That’s all I ever get.

    3. At least you got an email, we didn’t know what was going on and a business campaign email went out saying we were live! I think I am spending money in a campaign and now I don’t know what’s going on, it’s very frustrating.

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