How to Avoid Pinterest Jail

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

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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About Melissa Megginson

Melissa Megginson is resident Marketing Manager and Cat Lady at Tailwind, the leading Pinterest tool for brands. Melissa specializes in content creation, social media, blogging, PR outreach and pretty much all things marketing. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MelMegg.

  • Internet Local Listings

    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!

    • Melissa Megginson

      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 🙂

  • Kristie

    I am guilty for being put in jail from too many board follows. Great list.

    • Iryna Shevchenko

      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?

    • Roxanne

      Wait, too many boards? I have 233. Now I’m scared.

      • Melissa Megginson

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

        • Roxanne

          That’s a relief. Thanks 🙂

        • Jennifer Benkhauser

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

          • GayleMarie

            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!!

  • Nicole Johnson

    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.

    • Melissa Megginson

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

  • Diane | AnExtraordinaryDay

    Can we “go to jail” for infractions of the past, or is it current behavior that gets noticed?

    • Melissa Megginson

      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 🙂

  • TheNerdyCanuck

    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.

    • Melissa Megginson

      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!

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  • bobcanada

    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!

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  • Mark Allen

    The subject found very informative and exceptionally written with great

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  • Kim

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

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  • Andre Favron

    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.

    • Victoria

      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.

      • Liz Burnside

        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.

  • sulah

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

  • Truman

    Actully my website was banned for no reason. Can you give me some advices?

  • Joe Inserra

    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

  • Jane Nunny

    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.

    • Victoria

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

  • Alex R Cross

    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.

    • Nicole Zhang

      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

  • L Kururugi

    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.

  • Alex R Cross

    Why doesn’t my comment show?

    • Alex R Cross

      Previous comment, that is.

  • Jennifer Kincheloe

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

  • SunnyT

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

  • Nate

    How long does the suspension period last? Does it have a time limit or does it go on permanently?

  • Perspective

    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!

  • Ash Carter

    i was suspended two days ago… for posting stuff that violated certain terms. I am literally pleading to them to let me back and not Bar me. *depression*

    Below is a pic of the warning emails… I’m repenting it

    • tailwindapp

      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!

      • Ash Carter

        hey, so the suspension goes away after some time, and i get back my account?

        • tailwindapp

          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!

          • Ash Carter

            believe me… i’ve sent like 6 emails but they haven’t yet replied

          • Ash Carter

            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

      • Ash Carter

        how much time do i need to wait for?