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What is a shadowban?
Can I fix it?
If your Instagram account has been shadowbanned, it could be killing your engagement, reach and potential to grow your following. This in turn could be gravely affecting the success of your business.
What is a shadowban? How do I know if I’ve been shadowbanned? Why have I been shadowbanned? Can I fix it? Read on for all the answers!
What is a shadowban?
An Instagram showban essentially blocks your account from being viewed by anyone but your current followers. All those hashtags you’ve been working hard on? Useless during a shadowban. Users whom aren’t your followers, those you are trying to reach by using hashtags, cannot see your content.
If potential followers cannot see your content, then your potential to grow your account is immediately squandered.
How do I know if I’ve been shadowbanned?
Shadowbans have been designed in such a way that the user will not know it has happened to them, unless they’re looking for it.
To test if you’ve been shadowbanned, create a post with a few uncommon hashtags (to make this test easier for you) in the caption and others in the first comment. Look for your post on this hashtag from a few accounts that don’t follow you. If your posts appears under the hashtags, you’re safe, however if it does not appear, it’s likely you’ve been shadowbanned.
Why have I been shadowbanned?
Shadowbanning was designed to filter out content and accounts that don’t comply with Instagram’s terms. A few examples of actions you may have taken to get shadowbanned include:
Using automated bots
Instagram has a strong dislike for bots; using automated bots to follow, comment and like other user’s posts, to create fake profiles to follow you, or potentially even to schedule and post your content (ensure the one you’re using abides by Instagram’s terms), it could cause Instagram to shadowban your account.
Irrelevant or broken hashtags
Using irrelevant hashtags that don’t match your content or brand, the same hashtags over and over again, or broken hashtags (banned by Instagram).
Unorthodox content that’s been reported
This can range from posting nudity to “spammy” content. If your content has been reported, usually more than once, this may alert Instagram into thinking your account is inappropriate and block it from being seen.
You’ve exceeded your limit
Instagram has put limits in place to find and remove bots and spam accounts, for example on how often you can follow, unfollow, like, comment or post within an hour and day. If you exceed these limits, Instagram will see it as using their platform inauthentically or with the use of bots and result in a shadowban.
However, keep in mind these are all in theory, Instagram has never actually confirmed or denied installing a shadowban.
Can I fix it?
Stop using bots or other automated services
Ensure these accounts aren’t still linked with your account by logging into your Instagram account on your desktop, clicking the “Settings” cog on your profile page, selecting “Authorized Apps” and revoking access to anything you’re not actively using.
Check if your hashtags are broken
A hashtag can be blocked if it becomes popular and therefore inundated with inappropriate content - it could be as seemingly innocent as #beach. A tedious process, but you can check if a hashtag is broken by typing it into your search bar and it doesn’t show up, it’s broken.
Take a break
Some users have reported taking 2-3 days break from their Instagram account has reset the system. Stop posting, engagement and sign out of your account on all devices and programs completely - then resist temptation!
“We want Instagram to continue to be an authentic and safe place for inspiration and expression. Help us foster this community. Post only your own photos and videos and always follow the law. Respect everyone on Instagram, don’t spam people or post nudity.
Report the problem
Instagram is notoriously difficult to get in contact with, believe us, we know! However, reporting your shadowban will only take a few moments and is definitely worth a shot. In your app click the “Menu” icon in the top right, “Settings”, “Help”, “Report a Problem”, “Something Isn’t Working” and type a short message explaining your issue.
Switch from business to personal
As Facebook acquired Instagram and their main goal is to monetise it, switching from a business account to a personal account could help. The theory behind this is that they’re more likely to place shadowbans and restrictions on business accounts, who then have to purchase ads to be seen by customers.
If you have been shadowbanned and you found a solution, tell us your story!
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If you've found your Instagram engagement plummeting, a shadowban might be the culprit, limiting your visibility to current followers only. Discovering a shadowban can be elusive, but conducting a hashtag test or assessing your account activities may reveal it. Shadowbans often result from actions like using bots, inappropriate content, or exceeding platform limits. While Instagram has never officially confirmed shadowbans, taking proactive steps can mitigate the issue. Cease bot usage, check for broken hashtags, and consider a brief hiatus. Align your content with Instagram's guidelines, report the issue, and, if applicable, switch from a business to a personal account. For personalized assistance in overcoming a shadowban and optimizing your Instagram strategy, explore our Instagram management service. Learn more about managing shadow bans on Twitter in our related blog. Need further guidance?
Speak to our team today from New York office +1 929 547 7462 or Melbourne office +61 3 9088 2036