What is Instagram Shadow Banned and Is It Bad for Marketers?

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BY Chris Loomis

If you are an Instagram user, you may have experienced the frustration of not being able to grow a following. This is because Instagram has a strict algorithm that does not show posts from people who follow you as often. That is why brands should know. 

Instagram users grow their pages with help from hashtags and explore pages. However, your engagement might stop suddenly or show posts you like. It could be because of shadowbanned accounts, which users don’t even know whether it exists or not. This post will explain what shadow banning is, how to know if you’re shadowbanned, and how to avoid being shadowbanned. 


What is shadow banning on Instagram?

In case you haven’t heard about shadowbanning, it refers to restricting or hiding one’s content without them knowing. While it’s not an official term, it has recently gained popularity among social media users. 

Shadowbanning happens when Instagram restricts your posts’ visibility without notifying you. It occurred when you violated (even unintendedly) Instagram’s community guidelines. As a result, only your followers can see your posts. Likewise, your posts will not show up on the explore page and hashtag, which can affect your page’s growth and engagement. 


How to know if your account is shadowbanned

There is no direct way to tell if your account is shadowbanned on Instagram. However, there are tell-tale signs to determine whether you are indeed shadowbanned. Here’s how: 


Check insights 

If you have noticed a significant drop in engagement, you would want to check your metrics or insights, especially the percentage of accounts reached that are not your followers. If the impressions turn out alarmingly low, it could be because of a shadowban. 


Check hashtags. 

You can also check your hashtags if you suspect you have been shadowbanned. If you see a message telling you that a post has been hidden, you might have used flagged or banned hashtags, which resulted in a shadowban. 


Ask someone to unfollow you. 

You can also try asking someone to unfollow you and use the same hashtags to post a new photo. Check the non-followers hashtag page and see if your post appears under the recent. You are likely shadowbanned if your standing still doesn’t show even after a few minutes. 


Common reasons for getting shadowbanned 

Among the reasons why Instagram accounts get shadowbanned are the following: 


Too much engagement 

An Instagram algorithm can detect if you are over–engaging with your posts. The social media platform only lets you like or follow a certain number of people within a set time constraint to prevent spambots. Make sure not to engage in more than 500 actions daily, including liking, unfollowing, or following a post. 


Faking engagement 

Buying followers and faking engagement won’t put you to an advantage and could even get you shadowbanned. Never use bots or spread spam so that you keep your IG account safe from shadowbanning. Post quality content and ensure genuine engagement. 


Follow the community guidelines.

Make sure you follow the community guidelines so you won’t get shadowbanned. If your account has been reported several times, you might be posting inappropriate content that can lead you to be shadowbanned. Check if you are using restricted hashtags, and be careful not to use that. 


How to reverse a shadowban

Here are ways you can remove shadowban from your account: 

  • Stop using spambots or automated services. 
  • Do not use banned or restricted hashtags. 
  • Write real comments. 
  • Don’t over-engage and limit only up to 500 actions a day. 
  • Switch from a business account to a personal version. 

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