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Have you been Shadowbanned on Instagram?

Instagram Shadowban

What you need to know and understanding Instagram’s ethics​


The Instagram shadowban is the buzz word at the moment. Accounts are wondering if it has affected them, engagement levels rise & drop and really great content that has taken time to create is going unseen. Instagram has been quietly penalising accounts for misusing the app and I say quietly because there are no warning signs except that you are left there wondering why your engagement has dropped. To be fair, I side with Instagram. If you have fallen victim to the Instagram shadowban chances are you’re doing something that the creators of the app themselves do not want you doing. The good news is that you can recover. In this article, I touch on what causes you to be shadowbanned, what you can do to fix it and what Instagram’s ethics are.


What is the Instagram shadowban?


Users have reported slightly different experiences but what is consistent is that it results in Instagram hiding your posts from the hashtags you use. The accounts who follow you can see your posts but those who don’t, cannot. So you can imagine how detrimental that can be for growing your following and reaching potential clients. Instagram is defending its social media platform’s standards by limiting the amount of spam, misuse or abuse on the app.


What causes an Instagram shadowban?


Here’s our bullet point list of the sure-fire activities against Instagram’s terms and conditions that can cause your posts to be hidden:


  • Autobot commenting and using an automated post scheduler. Did you know they recently shut down two of the biggest schedulers called Instagress & Massplanner due to this very reason? Instagram loves organic activity and is very adamant about what makes a great account. Keep reading, as I will soon touch on exactly how to shine on Instagram.


  • Using broken or abused hashtags or repeating certain hashtags too often (irrespective of whether they are broken or abused). This can be time-consuming to evaluate but it has to be done. Check through your hashtags and see if they are either empty or Instagram has posted a notification about its misuse. Stop using your hashtag lists for a little while and get creative with new ones. Here’s another tip. Say for example you love using #visualcrush (great hashtag by the way!) type it into Instagram’s search bar and refer to the related tags that come up. Start using those for a little while, Instagram will love you for it.


Instagram Shadowban Suggestions


  • Mass following/unfollowing (​naughty naughty​). I can pretty much guarantee that within hours you will be shadowbanned. And to be honest we’ve all been there (me included – I’m teaching by example) so here’s a few things to note. Don’t unfollow more than 100 users a day and while you’re at it, don’t stress too much about the whole popularity game. You should be more concerned about the number of genuine and engaged users that follow you. At the end of the day, these are the followers who will boost your impressions, recommend you to their friends and grow your following.


Have you been affected?


There are two simple ways to check for an Instagram shadowban. I have tried and tested both methods. To find out if your account has been affected you can:


  • Ask a friend to unfollow you, wait a bit, then search your hashtags to see if your photo comes up. This is a much more reliable method of assessing an Instagram shadowban.


  • Visit: and type in your account name. Note that this website will only advise post by post so check back as you start to make changes to see whether the ban has been lifted.


Instagram Shadowban Tool


According to Social Media Today, Instagram has a total of 600 million individual accounts, that’s a massive 2000% growth in the last 5 years. With that comes the rise of unauthentic accounts and the use of autobots. Now the tide is turning!


Instagram credits originality, hard work and accounts that are actively social. If your account has been struck by the Instagram shadowban, we’ve got you! Here’s a few tips to get back into their good books!


Firstly begin with the obvious which is to discontinue using automated services or schedulers. Personally, I love using ​PLANN​, it’s a visual scheduler that abides by Instagram’s code of conduct. It doesn’t automatically post on your behalf but instead, sends you a reminder of when to do so.


Remove all broken or abused hashtags (this includes previous posts) and start working on a fresh list of new creative ones. This way you will reach a new target demographic and Instagram will reward you for it.


I also recommend taking a 48-hour break from the app. Don’t post, don’t like or comment. Give it a short rest and watch the ban lift. After the two day break begin engaging again, focus on leaving authentic comments that are a minimum of 5 words (excluding emojis) and posting with brand new hashtags. Use the down time to curate new content, new hashtag lists and revise your content strategy.


What is uniquely Instagram and how will you stand out above the rest?


It’s the home of flatlay & creative visual content, brand storytelling and developing a colour theme unique to your account. It’s the ultimate social media platform for reaching out and connecting with people. If you don’t have enough time to keep on top of things, outsource it. When used correctly Instagram is an app that helps you deliver your brand message to the masses.


What has your experience been with the shadowban? We would love to hear from you. If you can add any extra information to our list of do’s and dont’s then please drop us a line below or send us a message on Twitter (@thewebsitegroup ← Click to Tweet Us)

3 replies
  1. Gaurav Heera says:

    Just wish to say your article is amazing. The post is really cool and I assume you are an expert on the subject of Instagram. With your permission, I’d like to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming posts. Thanks a million and please keep up the great work!

  2. Vanessa says:

    I started to notice back in March that something was odd. I used to get a lot of likes in the first hours after posting and suddenly it went down to just a few. I thought it was odd and after some research came to the conclusion that instagram had done something to the program. Especially as it started just after they had introduced their promotion feature!
    Thanks to your post and others I am now a little wiser but still haven’t worked out a solution to the problem. I just use less tags now and hope for the best…

  3. Julie I Aloha Lovely says:

    I am definitely guilty of reusing the same hashtags over and over. Need to put in a little more effort in that area for sure!


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