The Instagram shadowban is reportedly affecting more and more people as Instagram look to take steps to ensure that only legitimate users are using their platform.

So just what is a shadowban and how does it affect people on Instagram. More importantly, how can you avoid shadowban and continue to receive great reach on the social platform.

What is Shadowban?

Shadownban is a term used when a user or their content is blocked (or partially blocked) on a social platform.

Its sometimes referred to as stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting.

Its different to flat out banning or being blocked from a social media platform because its not obvious to the user or others that they have indeed been blocked.

It can happen on many social media platforms and communities, but in terms of Instagram it refers to when the hashtags you use become undiscoverable.

Shadowban on Instagram

All Instagram posts should use some form of hashtags to ensure that others can discover the content that you have shared. If the hashtags you use have been shadowbanned then your content will only show to those who follow you on Instagram. Rendering the use of the hashtag in question useless for gaining reach and new followers.

There are many reasons for why Shadowbanning happens, they include:

Using Bots, Automated Services or Buying Followers

Instagram makes it very clear in the terms of use for the platform that its users may not use anything that automates. This includes bots to comment for you.

You may wonder how they know. Well Instagram is not stupid and it has spent a vast amount of resources building up spam trackers and identifiers. If you are using a bot or buying followers then they can pin point this activity and ban that activity.

Using the Same Hashtags Regularly

We are all creatures of habit, and unfortunately the belief in targeting a specific list of keywords, even has hashtags, has still not gone away.

Those posting using the same hashtags regularly will make your account and your activity look spammy.

Ensure that you use only appropriate hashtags and that you switch it up a bit.

However, the use of your business brand name or slogan is ok to repeat. Just try to mix it up a bit with non business posts every now and then.

Any Hashtags that Break Instagram Rules

Instagram has many rules for the types of content that it allows online. Any hashtags that have typically been used to promote this type of illegal content has been shadowbanned. Using those hashtags, even unknowingly, will stop your post from being seen under that hashtag.

A good way to see whether hashtags have been misused and therefore are now shadowbanned, is to simply search for hashtag and see what type of content you get back. If you see a clean feed that is relevant to your content then you know its ok to use. If you see every few posts or content that you would deem to be inappropriate, then don’t use those hashtags.

Sudden Activity

If you suddenly follow or unfollow a ton of Instagram accounts, or perhaps you like a lot of pictures in a row, then this could trigger a shadowban. Try to keep a natural flow to your use of Instagram – for many of us this means posting and interacting regularly, and not huge peaks and troughs.

Can I Tell Whether my Instagram Posts have been hit by a Shadowban?

The only way to tell (and even then its not a clear fire way) is to access another Instragram account – perhaps a friend will let you use theirs – unfollow your account and then try and find your post via the hashtag/s.

If you can find your post then the hashtags have not been shadowbanned, if you cannot find your post via the hashtags then there is a chance that your post has been shadowbanned.

Business accounts seem to be hit harder by shadowban due to Instagram wanting to ensure that the service it provides businesses is not misused.

Want to Avoid Shadowban?

If you want to avoid shadowban on Instagram then there are no tricks, tips or strategies to adopt. Simply ensure that you use the platform as it was intended.

Avoid spamming your account and ensure that the content you post, and the hashtags you use, are relevant and interesting to your followers. Make your posts discoverable by non-followers with the correct use of hashtags and keep the platform fun for all.

One last thing regarding the use of hashtags on Instagram – try to keep the number of hashtags you use to a few important ones. Eight or nine will do the trick, giving you the opportunity for reach without filling an entire screen with hashtags and ruining the visual look of your post.

Published: 6th Jun 2019

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