Instagram Shadowban: What You Need to Know



Photo from Stock That Rocks

Has your Instagram performance been declining lately?

Within the past few months, it seems like more and more Instagram users have been receiving less engagement around their posts, losing followers, and not showing up in hashtags. But why?

This mysterious phenomenon has been given the name ‘Instagram Shadowban.’ Victims of the shadowban are finding that their posts are being hidden from users who aren’t following them, which is killing their engagement!

Keep reading to learn all about what the Instagram shadowban is, why it occurs, and how you can avoid it and continue growing your Instagram!

What is an Instagram Shadowban?

The term “shadowban” has been around for awhile, but it’s recently gone viral! By definition, a shadowban blocks a social media user from an online community, yet in a way that the user doesn’t know they’ve been banned (sneaky!).

So what does this look like on Instagram? If you’ve been shadowbanned, the app will hide your posts in hashtag results from users who don’t follow you. For example, if you use a set of hashtags on your post, your photo won’t appear in the hashtag feed when searched. We know what you’re thinking…this defeats the whole purpose of using hashtags, right? Unfortunately, yes.

For accounts that rely on hashtags to grow their community, this is definitely a bump in the road. This is especially the case for business accounts, because it might mean losing customers and experiencing a decline in sales!

How Do I Know if I’ve Been Shadowbanned?

Since June of 2016, Instagram has introduced a variety of new algorithms that have negatively impacted engagement on the famous photo-sharing platform. So, if you’re experiencing a decline in engagement, just keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been shadowbanned!

To find out whether or not you’ve been shadowbanned, find a handful of ‘grammers who don’t follow you, and ask them to search for your photo with hashtags you’ve used. However, keep in mind that if you’ve used really popular hashtags, it might be impossible to sort through the millions of photos in search results to find your post anyway. So, we recommend using a not-so-popular hashtag to test this out!

If these people don’t find your photo, it’s likely that you’re a victim of the shadowban. However, if at least one of them does find your photo, you might be experiencing a lack of engagement for another reason. Potential causes include posting inconsistently (or too much), not having a visually appealing feed or quality captions, not providing value, or giving off a poor first impression. If this is the case, look into other reasons your account’s performance is declining!

Why Did I Get Shadow Banned?

So why does the shadowban affect some accounts but not others? Here are a few potential reasons:

  1. 1

    You’re using an automation service that goes against Instagram’s Terms of Service. Unfortunately, while Instagram bots like Robolike and Likestagram can be a quick way to grow your following, they go against Instagram’s Terms of Service. If Instagram suspects that your account isn’t engaging organically (which is likely to occur if you’re using these services), they’re likely to shadowban you.

  2. 2

    You’re using a broken or banned hashtag. There are millions of Instagram users out there, so it’s hard to control what everyone posts and how they organize it. Sometimes, a simple hashtag can become associated with inappropriate images that are completely unrelated to the tag, yet Instagram still has to remove it. Just using one of these broken hashtags can actually break the rest of your hashtags in the post, causing them to be ineffective!

  3. 3

    You’re violating Instagram’s engagement limits. In order to keep Instagram a place for natural engagement, the app has daily and hourly limits for liking photos, commenting, following, and unfollowing. So, similar to if you’re using an automation service, Instagram might suspect that you’re engaging inauthentically and shadowban your account if you’re exceeding these limits.

  4. 4

    You’ve been reported. Reporting an account is the easiest way to notify Instagram that an account might be up to no good. So, if you’re account has been reported, the app will either disable it completely or decide to shadowban you.

How Can I Get Rid of the Shadowban?

Now, if you’ve determined that you are in fact a victim of the shadowban, take a deep breath. There are steps you can take to get your account back up and running! Start implementing these simple steps, and you’ll most likely be able to conquer the shadowban!

  1. 1

    Don’t use Instagram bots! First things first, if you’re currently using an automation service, stop! While there can be perks to using them in some cases, they’re a big reason why many accounts are being shadowbanned. So, logout and delete these services off of your devices. To make sure there’s no trace of these services linked to your account, log into your account on a desktop and edit your profile. Then, check your authorized applications and revoke access from any of these services as well as any other ones that you don’t recognize.

  2. 2

    Check your hashtags. As mentioned previously, using just one broken hashtag in a post can cause your photo not to appear for any of the other hashtags you use along with it. To check your tags, simply search for them on Instagram one by one, and if no photos appear or you see a notice that it’s been hidden, you know it’s broken. Then, go back through your old posts and remove any instances of the tag on your account!

  3. 3

    Take a time out. If you’ve been shadowbanned, take some time off Instagram to allow your account to reset. After a few days or so, start engaging again, but make sure you do so manually!

  4. 4

    Know the rules (and play by them!). This can seem a little tedious, but set aside some time to go through Instagram’s Terms of Service. You might find that you’re using an unauthorized app or are exceeding your daily or hourly engagement limit!

  5. 5

    Report the problem. If all else fails, take the next step and report the problem. This might be a shot in the dark, but if you’re really struggling to get your account back in action, it’s worth trying. To reach out, simply go to your profile and “Report a Problem.” However, make sure you’re not just complaining about losing followers or likes, as this is unlikely to warrant a response from Instagram. If you’ve been shadowbanned, the real problem is that your photos aren’t populating in hashtags!

Has your account been affected by the Instagram shadowban? What steps are you taking to overcome it? Let us know in the comments below! While you’re at it, be sure to give us a follow on Bloglovin’ to keep up with all of our latest posts!

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