Instagram Shadowban: What is it & How to Fix it in 2022

Last Updated: September 22, 2022
What can be the possible explanation behind an Instagram shadowban?
Insta Shadow Ban
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If you are working hard to make it big on a social media platform like Instagram, you should be aware of Instagram shadowban. Influencers have to rely on the engagement that is generated by their posts.

Particularly for Instagram, the key to a successful account relies on the tactful usage of hashtags and the Explore section.

So, it’s not surprising if you want your posts and videos to reach as many people as possible.

However, if you’ve noticed any significant drop in the reach of your content in the form of lesser likes or comments without any apparent reason, it’s quite possible that Instagram has imposed a shadowban on your account.

If you’re unfamiliar with what this shadow means, don’t worry. We’ll explain what it means and how it can affect one’s engagement and post-reach.

You may have observed several posts not gaining enough visibility as they used to get at one point in time.

Their posts may also not show up on the explore section frequently. Many rumors are floating around that it isn’t a shadowban and different people have their own speculations.

However, Instagram hasn’t made any official statement regarding this. So, what can be the possible explanation behind an Instagram shadowban?

Continue reading the article as we are going to explore this issue in detail and all the possible solutions you can take if you are affected by that.

What Is an Instagram Shadowban?

In layman’s terms, the Instagram Shadowban refers to a penalty imposed by Instagram on a person’s account, which affects their content visibility adversely without any explicit notice or warning.

Instagram usually does it when the person has breached any of their policy or regulations. It may also happen if the user has posted something unfit for a social platform.

If someone’s account is shadowbanned, their posts won’t show up frequently on the explore section, which is a primary way to gain new followers for many accounts.

Only the people who have already followed you can see your content.

The most obvious sign that your account has been shadowbanned is less visibility. Your content will reach only your followers and won’t be displayed on explore or hashtag section.

This can affect your engagement and the number of new followers you would gain over a period of time.

This is also quite annoying for content creators and influencers who use Instagram as their primary source of revenue generation.

If we analyze the reasoning behind the Instagram shadowban, it may look justifiable as it helps in filtering out any unsuitable or inappropriate content from the platform.

Users who constantly breach community guidelines and trouble other users are expelled with this.

However, the implementation of the process is quite shady. There is no clear picture of what specific actions may lead to your account getting shadowbanned.

A few possible causes can be the purchase of fake followers and spamming of irrelevant hashtags just to receive more engagement and followers.

Even though Instagram has refrained from making any direct comment on this issue, they talked about it indirectly on their official Facebook page.

They made a post explaining why several users are facing less visibility on particular hashtags.

The post by Instagram has made one thing clear that it’s a genuine issue that needs to be addressed on a public scale.

Critics argued this was the way for Instagram to acknowledge the Instagram shadowban but not to reveal much about it. One thing we should remember is that Instagram frequently updates its algorithm.

The variations in updated algorithms may also contribute to your declining content visibility, along with other factors.

It may be possible that Instagram imposes Shadowban as a way to limit the content visibility to a restricted base audience.

If you’re a victim of shadowbanning and if you feel you have not breached any policy as such, you can take a few necessary steps to make things right.

We will first explain the signs that confirm a shadow ban and the measures you can take to remove it.

How to Know if You Have Been Hit by The Instagram shadowban?

If you observe a sudden drop in the likes, comments, and shares of your posts recently, it may point to the possibility of a Shadowban. There can be other reasons behind this as well.

One reason can be the constantly changing algorithm of Instagram, which may restrict the visibility of your content.

However, if you believe that the engagement declination has more to do with a Shadowban, you can take the below-mentioned steps to check it.

1. Check out the Hashtag Page

The easiest and most obvious way to verify the presence of an Instagram shadowban is to do a hashtag search.

You can follow the steps mentioned below to do so:

  1. Create an image/video as a post and upload it to your account.
  2. While posting, also use hashtags in the description. For the sake of this purpose, use the ones that are not very popular. The reason is that if you add a frequently used hashtag, it will be tedious for you to find your post in the hashtag section.
  3. Once you upload the post successfully, ask any of your relatives or friends, who is not following your actual account, to look in that particular hashtag section.
  4. If they are not able to find your post there, it means that Instagram has shadow banned your account.

2. Try Instagram Management Tools

Another method to check for a shadowban is to use tools like Heist or Triberr.

These Instagram management tools help you examine your post’s statistics, which you can use to change your content creation strategy.

Plus, you can use these tools to check if your account has been shadowbanned or not.

What’s more, you can also get to know the particular hashtags that have compromised your account visibility. The hashtags that restrict your posts would be displayed in red color.

3. Use Instagram Analytics

Last but not the least, you can use the option of Instagram analytics to verify the Instagram shadowban.

Instagram analytics specify the profile visits, likes, comments, and other ways to review your account performance.

You can use this information to observe any rapid drop in your content engagement. However, you should keep in mind that the decreasing engagement can be caused by a variety of reasons.

A few of which include, irregular posting, spamming, promotions, advertisements, etc.

Hence, even though Analytics is a good way to know any decline in the engagement, they don’t confirm the possibility of a shadowban.

Why Did My Account Get an Instagram shadowban?

At this point, you may want to know what all actions could have led your account to get shadowbanned.

Unfortunately, as there is no clarity from Instagram on this matter, we can talk about the potential causes behind this.

You can keep a note of these steps to ensure that you do not repeat these mistakes in the future and improve your content to get better organic visibility.

1. You Used Unauthorized Automated Services

If you do not invest the necessary efforts in creating quality content, you’ll not get an increased following of genuine users. To deal with this, you may end up purchasing fake followers to grow your account.

However, this is not something that Instagram appreciates. They have encouraged their users repeatedly over the years to focus on a comprehensive strategy to increase content engagement and to refrain from such ill practices.

Using any of the fake follower tools may lead your account to trouble, and possibly getting an Instagram shadowban as well.

2. You Added Broken Hashtags in Your Posts

The usage of broken or restricted hashtags can also lead your account to a shadowban.

Broken hashtags usually imply the tagged keywords, which have been removed by Instagram due to the improper content people post on them.

Once Instagram restricts any hashtag, you should avoid adding that to your posts.

If you do that, chances are quite high that Instagram may shadowban your account, or in extreme cases even block your account completely.

3. Your Account Got Reported for Inappropriate Content

If the content of your post is offensive to the majority of the users, they may end up reporting your posts and account.

If your account is reported beyond a certain point, Instagram will decide to limit your content visibility, which means an Instagram shadowbanon your account.

However, if you continue to breach their community guidelines, they may even terminate your account altogether.

4. You Are Displaying Impulsive Behavior

Any impulsive activity done excessively such as liking, commenting, or sharing with too many people in a small time frame is considered suspicious by Instagram.

To tackle this, Instagram has set a certain limit on individual activity on the platform.

For instance, if you followed over 100 people in less than an hour, you may be considered to be a bot. It is reasonable as this impulsive behavior isn’t shown by genuine users usually.

You may be able to rapidly gain followers and engagement using this method, but most of them will not be sustainable in the long term.

They won’t be genuine users as they don’t follow you for the value you provide via your content, which is the main reason why Instagram exists.

Above all, this activity will limit your account exposure. It may also lead to your account getting shadowbanned by Instagram.

How to Get Rid of An Instagram shadowban

The declining engagement over the past few days or weeks has not finally convinced you about the fact that your account has been shadowbanned.

The bad part is, that there’s no official time stamp as to how long your shadowban can last. Many users claimed their accounts were revived in about 14 days. There’s still no certainty about this.

However, you can take the steps we have outlined below to ensure that your account gets back on track as quickly as possible:

Avoid Doing Anything that Violates Instagram Community Guidelines

Any short-term quick fix that is aimed to increase engagement or follower count using illegitimate measures should be avoided at all costs.

Do not use any Insta bot to gain followers or increase interaction on your posts. It’s not easy to deceive the constantly changing algorithm of Instagram.

If Instagram once figures out that you had been using a bot all this time, it may affect your content visibility adversely and lead to an Instagram shadowban.

Though it’s not certain that using bots affects the post reach all the time, you should avoid it to be on the safer side. Instagram may penalize you by disabling your account for 24-48 hours or more.

Remove Permissions for All the Unauthorized Third-Party Services

Several third-party services and bots claim to simplify your Instagram account management.

While a majority of them help with that, they often are not approved by Instagram as they demand your login credentials. This can pose a serious threat to your privacy and personal security.

When using any of these services, always ensure that the one you go for is authorized by Instagram to prevent the possibility of an Instagram shadowban.

Avoid the Usage of Broken Hashtags

The blocked or broken hashtags, if used frequently can adversely impact your content visibility.

As their usage has been checked by Instagram due to the improper content associated with it, your account may face a penalty if you try to use it on your posts.

It may also lead your account to get permanently blocked. To avoid this, analyze all your hashtags carefully.

Don’t just bulk copy-and-paste hashtags with the hope of receiving a better engagement. No hashtag present in your collection should be broken.

However, if you have used broken hashtags in any of your previous posts, take out some time to edit your content and remove those hashtags.

You can keep the other hashtags intact, just delete the ones that are prohibited.

Report the Issue

If you feel your account has got an Instagram shadowbandespite you complying with all of the Instagram guidelines and refraining from any ill practice, then you should contact Instagram promptly and report this issue.

Below we have mentioned the steps you can take to achieve the same:

  1. Launch the Instagram application on your device.
  2. Look for the profile option at the lower right corner of your display.
  3. Tap on the three sleeping bars icon in the upper-right part of the app.
  4. Go to the Settings.
  5. Tap on the Help option
  6. Select “Report a Problem”.
  7. Choose the “Something isn’t working” option.
  8. Input the details of the problem you’re facing to give them some clarity on your issue.
  9. Tap on the send button.

Note: It’s recommended not to explicitly refer to the term Instagram shadowban anywhere in your report.

You should just briefly explain to them what you’re observing recently, your account exposure and content visibility and how it’s adversely affecting your professional domain.

Avoid Any Activity that Can Be Considered Spam

If Instagram observes an unexpected amount of activity in a short period of time, it may assume your account is being driven by a bot or some similar service.

Excessive activity can be in the form of likes, comments, or following too many people at once. It may also count if you unfollow a large number of people at one time.

Indulging in such behavior can lead to your account getting temporarily suspended anywhere between 1 to 7 days.

Ensure Your Account Isn’t Reported by Too Many Users

Getting reported frequently can be one of the deciding factors in leading your account towards an Instagram shadowban.

Too much reporting indicates your content isn’t following Instagram rules and guidelines which may prompt Instagram to reduce your content visibility.

The content you post should be user-friendly. Avoid posting any political or graphically offensive pictures and videos.

Consider Taking Some Time Off Instagram

Many users have observed that not using their account for a minimum of 48 hours helps in receding the effects of the Instagram shadowban and put the content visibility back on track.

So, if none of the above methods works for you, you can think of taking a small break which may also help in dealing with the creator block, something which many creators struggle with.

Once you come back, you can have a fresh start.

Other Factors That Can Affect Your Account Visibility

Instagram Engagement

If you do not face an Instagram shadowban, then these may be the possible reasons behind your decreasing engagement:

1. The Instagram Algorithm Has Evolved

Instagram is a social media platform that depends on paid advertisement for revenue generation. They intend to keep users hooked on the platform for long periods.

This way they ensure to feed you with posts based on your preferences.

The Instagram algorithm is designed in such a way to constantly show you the kind of posts that you would naturally want to see.

Once you engage with a certain type of post, the platform will also show you similar content on a regular basis.

If the content you create isn’t lucrative enough to attract the attention of your followers, Instagram will most likely not display it to a wider audience.

Your content will be displayed only to a minute fraction of your followers.

This can dramatically lessen your content interaction, which may make you believe that your account has got an Instagram shadowban when that may not be the case.

2. Your Posts Are Stagnant

How frequently does the profile you follow become dull with their content and you end up unfollowing them after a period of time?

Even if you don’t unfollow them, you may stop liking or commenting on their posts, as a result of which they will stop showing up on your feed eventually.

This happens with many people, particularly when one day suddenly a post pops up from an account that they had followed long back.

This issue is faced by many content creators, especially by those who fail to update their content or do not add enough diversity to keep their content relevant to the changing times.

This results in dropping visibility as people stop just responding to their posts.

The reduction in your likes and comments will lead Instagram to devalue your content and it won’t show up frequently on your users’ feeds.

Owing to this, you may end up believing that there has been an Instagram shadowbanon your account.

Resolving This Issue

The ideal approach to prevent your content from feeling stagnated by the audience is to consistently update the standards of the pictures and videos that you upload on your account.

With every modification, irrespective of how minor it is, keep track of any observable changes in the likes and comments that your post is receiving.

A higher interaction count shows that users are able to relate to what you post, which is also an indication that they want you to post similar stuff more frequently.

Using this knowledge, you can see how to mold your future posts to the likable framework accordingly.

However, if a certain post or type of post is receiving a lower than usual response, then it’s time for you to stop creating such kinds of posts.

If you refine your content using this approach, you will come up with the posts that your followers expect from you and relate with.

It’s vital to assess your performance regularly to see how your content is held in front of the audience.

Many content creators often discount the opinions of their audience and try to impose what they like the most.

Because of this nature, many of their followers end up unfollowing them in the long run leading them to believe in the Instagram shadowban. Your priory should always be your audience, and not yourself.

3. The Online Habits of People Have Changed

People have been using Instagram for several years at this point and it has created a popular sport in the global market.

This also implies that people are no longer using the platform the same way it was being used by them in the beginning.

Even though we don’t have any official notice from Instagram on this subject, the platform does face severe impacts due to the varying online habits of Instagram users.

If we talk about the way Instagram has evolved at this point now, people are interacting more with stories in comparison to their daily feeds.

Also, since the introduction of the Explore section people prefer to follow a lesser number of accounts as compared to the earlier figures.

Many owing to their personal lifestyle changes, reduce or even eliminate the usage of Instagram in their daily routines.

All these factors can result in limited visibility and engagement on your content, and this has nothing to do with the Instagram shadowban.

Resolving This Issue

There’s not much you can do to change the habits of a billion people that are using Instagram. Most of these varying online habits are influenced by other countless factors.

Hence, the ideal approach is to not be excessively concerned with the numbers.

Always keep in mind that your goal should be to create quality content. If you do this one step right, the rest will follow automatically.

Final Thoughts

This brings us to the end of our article. We hope by now you have got some idea about what the Instagram shadowban means.

In this guide, we not just talked about what all possible factors can lead your account to a shadow, but also the required steps you can take to prevent its recurrence in the future.

Keeping these steps in mind, we encourage you not to get overly identified with the numbers game.

Focus more on providing quality content to your followers while complying with Instagram community guidelines at the same time.

FAQs

Below we’ve mentioned a few of the most frequently asked questions related to the Instagram shadowban:

Is Instagram shadowban Real?

Yes, it is. Not only Instagram but Twitter has done this too in the past.

Whilst the term Shadowbanning is not confirmed by any social networking sites, the term itself has gained popularity and has been used to explain this behavior on almost all social media sites.

Getting shadowbanned on Instagram means your content is not presented on anyone’s feed, explore, or Hashtag pages, without any prior notice to the user.

An Instagram shadowban is an obvious result of either violating Instagram’s community guidelines or the content being inappropriate to other users.

After being shadowbanned, only your followers could see your content and no one else will reach it through explore or hashtag pages.

How Do I Check Whether My Account Has Been Shadowbanned or Not?

Major Indicators of an Instagram shadowban are:

A Sudden Drop in Engagement – An unexpected drop in your reach and audience may occur when you’re shadowbanned.

This is the result of your content not being shown to people who haven’t yet followed you.

While shadowbanning could be the reason here, this could also happen due to various reasons.

Content Not Appearing on Respective Hashtag Pages – Your content when posted is flooded with relatable hashtags.

And when you visit the respective hashtag pages, you might not always find your content there.

This could be another major indicator of shadowbanning. A very easy way to find out if you have been shadowbanned is to search for your content on hashtag pages.

As we mentioned, your content not being on hashtag pages could mean that you have got an Instagram shadowban.

This happens as Instagram changes its algorithm and that could also be the reason for the low engagement you are receiving.

Follow the steps mentioned below to perform a hashtag search:

Post an Image with A Hashtag

The step is not as easy as it sounds. You have to post the image with a very rare hashtag, the one that not many users apply to their posts.

Hashtags like #naturephotography, #wildlifephotography, etc. have thousands of users already posting on them. It would be a very difficult task to go on those pages and search for your content specifically.

Hence, using a tag with fewer followers and users will ease the further steps to figure out an Instagram shadowban.

Visit the Hashtag Page

Ask your friend who does not follow you to visit the hashtag with which you just uploaded an image.

Look for Your Post

Now all that’s left to do is to look for your post. The easy way to do so is to look into the recent posts section.

If you have uploaded the image within the past few minutes, it would be easier to find in the recent posts section of the respective hashtag.

It would be one of the latest posts in that section.

Has Instagram Made Any Official Statement Regarding the Instagram shadowban?

Although the term shadowbanning has not been officialized, the actions have been mentioned by Instagram on their Facebook page.

In a statement posted on their business account on Facebook, they mentioned the problems faced by users regarding their content not being presented on hashtag pages.

This mention was indeed a big deal as it confirms the actions being taken by Instagram.

However, there are many posts about the sudden decrease in the reach and visibility of many Instagram accounts and the content not being shown on explore and hashtag pages.

People have been arguing about the validity of such reports for the past three years.

Several complaints like these are skyrocketing on social media day by day, and Instagram still has not confirmed the existence of the Instagram shadowban.

Why Does Instagram Shadowban Accounts of Users?

Forcefully banning content without any prior notice has been criticized by users around the world.

However, Instagram filtering the inappropriate content is a logical decision made for the greater good of the platform itself.

The content that does not follow guidelines is restrained from being presented to public access.

Some people tend to buy followers and likes to increase their reach. These tricks also include using inappropriate hashtags.

Instagram shadowbanning such users ensures the growth and expansion of genuine users. In a way, shadowbanning cannot be called unfair due to it being harmful only to phony users.

You would suspect that you’re shadowbanned when your content is not appearing on explore pages even if you have hashtagged it with related tags.

Your audience will rapidly decrease till only your followers can access and interact with your posts and content.

Hence, you should do everything possible to avoid Instagram shadowban.

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Written by Jason Wise

Hi! I’m Jason. I tend to gravitate towards business and technology topics, with a deep interest in social media, privacy and crypto. I enjoy testing and reviewing products, so you’ll see a lot of that from me here on EarthWeb.