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Beware of Instagram shadowban: All you need to know!

Beware of Instagram shadowban: All you need to know!

. 8 min read

If you have a regular audience and activity on the Instagram platform, you will keep a close eye on engagement and reach levels and your follower growth. What can we say, the page you created is your artwork, or it is like your baby. We totally get it.

But did you ever feel that something is off with your Instagram engagements or reach?

And you did not figure out why something like that happened. You do everything as in order; post, comment or share as always.

Or, have you ever seen an influencer or blogger crying out for not being invisible or complaining about the Instagram algorithm due to a drop in engagement levels. It can be a similar thing.

Here you are maybe experiencing an Instagram shadowban. But, what is the shadowban on Instagram exactly?

What is a shadowban on Instagram?

Despite “shadowban” isn’t an official Instagram term, we know that the app can deprioritize accounts. Posts can be hidden or restricted, often without the user’s knowledge.

This act may put your content (or account) unfindable through hashtags and the Explore section. In some situations, the content may be completely removed.

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How do you know if your shadowbanned on Instagram?

Even though there is no official or surefire way to assure it, people have found several shadowban test methods by trial and error. And we curated the most reasonable ones here.

Not finding your content on hashtag pages: If you notice that your posts have been hidden on pages with hashtags you frequently use, you’ve probably been shadowbanned for using such hashtags.

It’s likely that Instagram is suppressing your content with this hashtag because users flagged recent posts using a specific hashtag which is not matching Instagram’s community guidelines (even if you are not violating).

Instagram can mute certain hashtags if there is spammy activity, a drastic surge in posts or reports. The procedure can be called as a typical Instagram shadowban!
Instagram can mute certain hashtags if there is spammy activity, a drastic surge in posts or reports.

But if you are using too generic and popular hashtags, the reason can be competition, not shadowbanning at all. To make an Instagram shadowban test, you can try using less popular hashtags and ask your coworkers or friends to scan the latest posts under that hashtag page.

If multiple people from different devices cannot find your posts, this can be a shadowban.

Even verified accounts experience that.

Drop-in engagement and reach on Instagram Insights: Being shadowbanned will drastically reduce your reach, limit who can see your posts, and have a significant impact on engagement.

If you see a sudden and prolonged decline in activity on Instagram Insights, you’ve probably been shadowbanned. One of the most useful metrics to consider is the percentage of accounts you reached that were not already following you.

An unexplained decrease in engagement can suggest a shadowban |Source: stayclosetravelfar.com

It’s crucial to note that Instagram’s algorithm frequently changes so that those changes could be the cause of your lower engagement rate.

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Why does Instagram shadowban?

This usually happens when a person violates Instagram’s community guidelines — or when the content is considered improper in some other way. Instagram will believe your account is uploading inappropriate content or breaking its service rules if users report it often. They may deactivate your account or place a shadowban on it.

What Instagram says about restricting some posts or accounts?

While shadowbanning has not been declared a genuine phenomenon by the Instagram team for many years, they say that the app does not restrict people’s content for using too many hashtags or other behaviors.

However, later on, Instagram stated that postings deemed “inappropriate for our international audience” would not be published on the Explore Page, even if they complied with Instagram’s Community Guidelines. It brings us to the app’s and its team’s final authority to decide on “inappropriate” content and take action about it.

Considering Instagram community guidelines, you need to pay attention to:

  • Not talking about violence, sexually provocative content, or disinformation on social media.
  • Not paying for likes or comments, deploying bots to grow your following, and joining engagement pods are all options.
  • Not using more than 30 hashtags in a single post and commenting on or following too many people in a single hour.
  • Not using inappropriate hashtags that are comparable to inappropriate content such as sexuality, abuse, cursing, and so on.
  • Avoiding too much activity – acting like spam-  in Instagram in a short amount of time – too many comments, likes, or follows.

How long does the Instagram shadowban last?

The length of the shadowban varies from instance to case. It usually lasts anything from a few days to several months. The latter, on the other hand, is more of an outlier.

However, it’s important to remember that the consequences of this temporary penalty can last a long time. On social media, where millions of photographs are shared every day, two weeks is a long time, and it can take a few extra weeks to regain that pace you previously had.

How to remove shadowban on Instagram?

You will need to undo the harm to bring your account back to normal. It is only a matter of waiting for some, while it’s necessary to contact customer support for others. Some users are also permanently shadowbanned. We have compiled a list of options for you to consider.

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Report Your Problem to Instagram

While Instagram has an official support email address, it is recommended to use Instagram’s native “Report a Problem” feature.

  • Now go to your Instagram Settings, tap Help, and select “Report a Problem” from the drop-down menu.
It is possible to do it on Android, iOS and desktop too.
It is possible to do it on Android, iOS and desktop too.
  • A pop-up window with a few options should appear. Select “Something Isn’t Working” and compose a message outlining the problem.

Remove Bot Services

Bots are a spamming tactic that may result in a shadowban. Use bot-like software instead of software that violates Instagram’s Terms of Service.

Below see how to browse and remove authorized third-party apps that have access to your Instagram account. Remove any suspected app or the ones you added for getting more followers, likes, etc.

Do you remember which third-party apps have access to your account, or are they reliable?

Do not use banned or broken hashtags

Even there are no officially declared banned hashtags by Instagram; you can search for possibly risky hashtags over the Internet and always avoid sexual, graphic, racist and provocative hashtags.

And as another method, you can try to remove hashtags from your recent posts and not use hashtags in comments.

Take a break

Sometimes you need to wait for the Instagram shadowban to go away.  Takedown your activity – make fewer comments, share less content than you normally do, and try some Instagram detox, maybe.

And take time to read, understand and internalize what Instagram policies want from you.

Keep up the good work; hence, content

How to get back your exposure and engagement levels by your means?

Content quality

Content marketing that works should always be interesting on its own. It’s merely about focusing on what you do/share/tell if you want to get your content shared and increase your engagement rate and follower count (without receiving too many unfollows).

Whether you are publishing from a private or business account, the most successful postings are those that capture people’s attention. Good lighting and high-quality visuals are always important for images and movies, but if you want to dazzle your audience with graphics, make sure you follow the basic design rules.

Here, reliable social media management tools such as Circleboom Publish can help you create eye-catching designs and post them on your Instagram account right away or later.

Circleboom Publish has pre-made social media templates and Canva built-in tool in Instagram scheduler
Circleboom Publish has pre-made social media templates and Canva built-in tool in Instagram scheduler

You may also discover free stock photographs from Unsplash here and then spice up your content with Giphy GIFs.

Canva built-in tool offered by Circleboom social media planner can help you create beautiful Instagram posts in minutes. Choose a template from the list below, then start customizing it with your preferred colors, fonts, photos, symbols, and other elements to make sure your brand stands out.

With one click, enjoy all Canva features by logging in to your account.
With one click, enjoy all Canva features by logging in to your account.
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Timing for best engagement results

While you are trying to get back your engagement and reach numbers during or after Instagram shadowban, watching for the best time to post on Instagram can really be a big deal.

If you are managing multiple profiles, you can sometimes overlook the importance of timing on social media. Scheduling  Instagram posts can help you with that. But when trying to remove the Instagram shadowban or dealing with the damage it left behind, we highly recommend you schedule Instagram posts for peak times.

Schedule Instagram posts for the optimum time

Geotags can be used for more reach.

Looking for a substitute for hashtags that can still help you appear in Instagram search results? Make use of geotags!

Make sure to tap “Add Location” before publishing any post to tag your city, company headquarters, or the location where your photo or video was taken.

You will appear at the top of the recent posts section when users use Instagram search to seek up the area, allowing you to expand your reach without risking an Instagram shadowban.

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Wrap Up

Instagram’s algorithm, community guidelines, and other tools may alter as the platform’s user base grows by the hundreds of millions each year to limit people misusing the platform’s power.

Posting helpful, authentic material and adhering to proper practices when increasing your audience are the easiest ways to avoid being shadowbanned on Instagram.


Kevin O. Frank
Kevin O. Frank

Co-founder and Product Owner @circleboom #DataAnalysis #onlinejournalism #DigitalDiplomacy #CrisesCommunication #newmedia