What is a Shadowban on Instagram?
This refers to the act of hiding or restricting a user’s content without informing the user that it’s happening. If you’re shadowbanned or think you have been shadowbanned, this means that your content won’t appear on anyone’s feed, Explore page, or hashtag pages unless they already follow you. This typically occurs when a user has violated Instagram’s community guidelines — or the content is otherwise deemed inappropriate.
Why does Instagram shadowban?
Shadowbanning allows Instagram to filter out accounts that don’t comply with their terms. Some people use inauthentic measures to expand their Instagram following, like buying followers or using hundreds of hashtags that are irrelevant to their content. If that’s the case, it makes sense that Instagram hides content from those accounts so that only genuine and helpful content is promoted to users.
While Instagram doesn’t openly admit to shadowbanning, they have addressed the problem users were having with their content not showing up for certain hashtags.
However, shadowbanning could be a real tactic meant to hide users’ content from the wider Instagram audience, and if you’re being shadowbanned, it’s important you take the necessary measures to get your content seen.
Did Instagram shadowban me?
Those with a professional account can now check to see if their content is being recommended to other users with Instagram’s Account Status feature. From Account Status, you can view if content you posted violated Instagram’s recommended guidelines.
Simply navigate to your profile on the app, then Menu > Settings > Account > Account status. With this feature, you can verify what is affecting your account (if anything) and get suggestions for how to remedy it.
How to Tell If You’ve Been Shadowbanned
You can actually check to see if you’ve been shadowbanned and it only takes 2 steps:
1. Post an image with a hashtag that isn’t often used. (If you use a hashtag that has millions of posts associated with it, it’ll be hard to tell if content is banned, or just hidden by competition).
2. Ask five employees or people who don’t follow you to search the hashtag. If none of them see your post in those results, you’ve likely been shadowbanned.
If this isnt a feasible task for you, don’t worry we have some other tactics that might help:
Check your hashtag pages.
If you look at pages of hashtags you regularly use and see a message that posts have been hidden, it’s possible you’ve been shadowbanned for using those hashtags.
Check Instagram Insights.
Looking at Instagram Insights, if you notice a sudden and sustained drop in engagement, then it’s possible you’ve been shadowbanned. One of the best metrics to look at is percent of accounts reached that weren’t following you.
Why are you shadowbanned?
There are a few potential reasons your account could have been shadowbanned. To ensure this doesn’t happen again, let’s explore some actions you might have taken that led you to being shadowbanned.
Using Bots or another automated “Instagram growth” tool.
If you aren’t putting in the hard work yourself, you’re not growing a following authentically. Instagram frowns on this — in their statement above, for instance, they encourage users to have a strategy that focuses on connecting with the right audience. Using bots is a spammy tactic, and could result in a shadowban.
Using broken hashtags.
Occasionally, a popular hashtag will become overrun with inappropriate content. When this happens, Instagram can remove the hashtag or limit its use. If you use a broken hashtag, it will prevent your other hashtags from ranking, and could also result in a blocked account.
Your account is often reported.
When users repeatedly report an account, Instagram will assume your account is posting inappropriate content or violating their terms of service. They might disable your account, or they could shadowban it.
You’ve been posting, commenting, engaging, or following people too quickly.
Instagram places time constraints on how often you can follow, unfollow, like, comment, or post within an hour or day. This makes sense — if you’re following 80 people within an hour, it’s likely a bot doing the work, not you.
These actions might help you grow a following quickly, but they can’t help you connect with the right people, which is why you’re on Instagram in the first place. Additionally, these behaviors likely result in shadowban, which severely restricts your exposure to a new audience.
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