What’s an Instagram Shadowban?
A shadowban on Instagram refers to a situation where Instagram is limiting your posts’ reach so that fewer people can see them.
You may notice your posts getting lesser engagement (likes/comments), and when you search on Instagram for the hashtags that you used, your posts are not appearing anywhere.
Instagram, as expected, denies that they shadowban accounts, but we have and continue to see concrete evidence that they actually do.
There are a number of reasons that can lead to your account getting shadowbanned, and in the next topic, we’re going to look at some of those as well as how to check if your account has been hit by a shadowban.
What Causes Instagram Shadowbans?
Let’s eliminate the misconception that Instagram shadowbans accounts for using too many hashtags when posting.
This is definitely not true and you should always use as many hashtags as Instagram allows (30) in order to reach as many people as possible.
Now there are some common reasons that can cause your account to get shadowbanned. We’ll mention them below as we discuss them further.
Although in a few instances a shadowban on your account may occur without a clear reason, there are 5 main reasons known why Instagram can shadowban your account:
- Using banned hashtags: It is not always obvious what hashtags Instagram has flagged because spammers are known to use decent hashtags to promote content that goes against Instagram’s policy. For this reason, Instagram continuously monitors the hashtags used on its platform for any violations. Sometimes you may innocently find yourself using one or a few of these flagged hashtags. We recommend always checking your hashtags before posting. A tool like Metahashtags.com does a great job of pointing out banned hashtags.
- Using unauthorized 3rd-party apps: There are plenty of unauthorized apps that perform tasks such as checking who unfollowed you or even perform certain activities on behalf of the user. While these apps may seem desirable, Instagram has become very good at detecting when you’re using them. We’ve seen cases where Instagram not only shadowbans these accounts but goes even further to permanently ban them. If you must use 3rd-party apps on your Instagram, we recommend using authorized apps, such as HypeAuditor or other apps that do not require you to log into them using your Instagram.
- Performing too many activities too quickly: The most common Instagram growth strategy is the follow-unfollow method. This worked very well in yesteryears but recently Instagram increasingly limited the number of activities you can perform on the platform. You should ensure not to exceed the daily follow limits, like and unfollow limits.
- Your account getting reported frequently: Instagram may not always have someone ready to check for violations whenever an account has been reported, as a result, when your account is repeatedly reported by different people, Instagram will immediately start shadowbanning your posts before a human can reach it and check why your account is getting reported. Of course, this can be used against you by your competitors, so if you notice your account experiencing this, the best course of action would be to notify support so that the ban can be lifted. It’s usually not very easy to reach support but it helps to chat with someone on Facebook Business.
- Dormant Instagram accounts: Accounts that have been dormant for a while usually have a hard time getting back their rate of engagement when they resume posting. This happens when no activity takes place on the account for a couple of months.
You know your account better than anyone else and if you haven’t been doing any of the above, the first thing to do would be to check if actually your account has been shadowbanned or your content is just not performing well.
Next, we’ll discuss how to check if your account has been shadowbanned and what you can do to lift the ban.
How Do You Check If Your Instagram Is Shadowbanned?
The simple way to check if your account has been shadowbanned is to ask a few people who are not following your account to search for your hashtags to see if your posts are showing up under them.
This is because if you do the search on your account chances are your posts will show up for YOU even though others may not be able to see them.
Do this only on the hashtags you’d normally rank for because some hashtags may be too competitive for you to rank for even without a shadowban.
Some websites/apps claim to be able to help you check if your account is shadowbanned but we’ve tested quite a number of them and none seems to be able to get it right. Don’t fall for it as they’re only looking to make a quick buck out of you.
How Long Does an Instagram Shadowban Last?
Can a shadowban go away on its own without you doing anything?
Yes, sometimes allowing your account to stay without posting or performing other activities for a couple of days can help lift the shadowban.
How to Remove Instagram Shadowban?
The first step would of course be to stop every activity mentioned under the reasons for shadowbans. Make sure to remove your Instagram from the 3rd-party app you were using and to change the password.
If you were posting anything that would cause people to report your account, make sure to remove those posts.
Use this tool to check if you’re using banned hashtags and remove those.
Although using all 30 hashtags does not get your account shadowbanned, I believe it helps to reduce the number of hashtags you’re using when you’re trying to recover from a shadowban.
If your account was shadowbanned for performing too many activities, allow the account to sit for a few days before starting to perform fewer tasks. Make sure not to exceed the limits set by Instagram this time around.
Let us know if these worked for you and if you have any lingering questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section and I’ll respond as soon as I can.