There are so many rumors about the term Shadowban on Instagram and people wonder if it really exists. This blogpost will cover everything you need to know about Shadowban on Instagram. I am going to cover the following questions:
– What it is a Shadowban?
– How do I get shadowbanned?
– How do I know if I am affected by a Shadowban?
– How does it affect reach, engagement and following?
– How long does it last?
– How to remove the Shadowban
While the term “Shadowban” is not officially used by Instagram and the existence of it has never been confirmed or denied by Instagram, there are many users that claim to have been affected by a Shadowban on Instagram. And I am one of these users. I have been affected by a Shadowban 3 times since I have my Instagram Account and I for sure know that a Shadowban is real and has a dramatic impact on your reach, engagement and following.
The first time, I experienced a Shadowban was in 2018 when I was around 5k and tried to grow my account. In fact, I got shadowbanned twice in row. Trust me when I say, it is not something that you want to experience or deal with, especially when you are trying to grow your account. The third time I got shadowbanned when just have hit 30k. Again, it was not a pleasant experience. Although it is not always clear why someone gets shadowbanned, I suspect to know, why I got the Shadowban on Instagram.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on this topic, and the things I am talking about in this blogpost are just assumptions that I made based on my experience. Nothing of this has been confirmed by Instagram.
What is a Shadowban?
A Shadowban is when Instagram is actively restricting the content of some users. Thus, it makes the account/posts undiscoverable via Hashtags and the Explore Page. This happens when the Instagram Algorithm flags your account for violating its community guidelines. A shadowbanned account is basically invisible to new followers, specifically on the hashtag search results page. So the only way for people to see your posts when a post is shadowbanned is to type their name in search and visit their actual profile or through the home feed (but even here the visibility is restricted).
Types of Shadowbans: Account OR a Specific Post
There actually two types of shadowbans that exist to my knowledge. The first one is when your whole account gets shadowbanned by Instagram. This means that none of your posts (new and old) will rank on hashtags or explore. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this type of ban. The second type of shadowban is when it only affects a specific post. This usually happens if you use a banned hashtag. You can fix that issue by checking the hashtags and removing the banned one. Although, this won’t help you with the reach for the specific post, it will help you with the reach of your future post. If you don’t remove the banned hashtag, it will affect all your future posts.
How do I get shadowbanned?
Instagram flags your account whenever it thinks that you are violating against its community guidelines. This could be by buying followers or likes, using third party apps that are not accepted by IG, doing follow/unfollow, to just name a few. So basically all the fishy things that you should not do in order to boost your engagement or increase your followers. There are random cases though, that claim, they have not done any of that and still got a Shadowban.
Another way to get a Shadowban is when you or one of the posts you made was reported as “Innapropriate” content. The only way to remove this kind of ban is by getting in touch with Instagram’s Customer Support team, which is very difficult. Here is a blog post and more information on how to get in contact with the team.
My personal Story:
In my case, I got shadowbanned the first two times because I was letting an agency using my account and doing follow/unfollow for me. Back then I was around 5k and really had a hard time growing my account and thought this was the solution. Hiring an agency to do the dirty work for me. Exactly the day they accessed my account and started doing the follow/unfollow I got shadowbanned. After the ban was removed, the agency tried the same approach and I got banned again. This means, I was banned twice in a row. I learned from that mistake and never did something like that again.
The third time, I got shadowbanned, is because I used a third party app that day (that still was installed on my phone and connected to Instagram) to track who unfollowed me. Just because I was curious. Another mistake, because Instagram does not like these fishy third party apps. So this got me my third Shadowban. Since then I am not connecting any third party apps to Instagram.
How do I know if I am affected by a Shadowban?
To be honest, you will know. If your reach drops significantly for a couple of posts in row and you start loosing followers like crazy. Thats when you should get suspicious and probably check whether your hashtags are working. The easiest way is to check the hashtags you used for one of your latest post and specifically check the “Recent” tab. If you are nowhere to be find under any used hashtag within the recent post, including all older posts, you most likely have been shadowbanned.
As mentioned earlier, there is a possibility that only one post got shadowbanned. This happens if you have used a banned hashtag and this is can be fixed very easily. But if all your recent posts (including old ones) are not visible under any used hashtags anymore, you are shadowbanned. I have experienced both.
How does it affect reach, engagement and following?
Whenever your account is affected by a Shadowban on Instagram, you will have a limited reach and you probably will lose a bunch of followers. When I was shadowbanned for 4 weeks in a row, I lost a ton of followers. I also had the lowest reach ever, so stopped posting for that time. The third time, I experienced the same, I probably lost around 2k followers during that timeframe and had horrible engagement. Because you are basically invisible and cannot be found through explore or hashtags, there is no way you can get new followers. The only way to reach people is through the home feed of the people that already follow you.
How long does it last?
The Shadowban that affects your whole account usually last exactly 2 weeks. During that time, your posts will not be seen by the majority unless people specifically look for your account in the search box. The Shadowban that affects a single post because of banned hashtag lasts until you remove the banned hashtag. There are cases though, where the Shadowban lasted over a month. So nothing is garuanteed, but usually reports from several users confirm that the ban lasts exactly 2 weeks.
How to remove the Shadowban
Now, the question you probably all been waiting for. How can I fix a Shadowban? Unfortunately, there is no simple solution other than wait it out. That is what I have experienced and other fellow bloggers I know as well.
If you suspect you got shadowbanned, take it slow with posting on your feed. You can stay on stories and show your face but stop posting daily, since your reach is limited and your posts would not get the visibility they usually would. That does not mean that you should now post at all, but just less than usual.
The only advice I can give you is to try to grow organically and not to use third party apps, doing loop giveaways or signing up for follow/unfollow services. In the long run, these strategies are going to hurt your account way more than they will help you grow it. I know Instagram can be tough and devastating at times, but it so much more rewarding to grow your account organically.
How to prevent a Shadowban
Although there are no simple ways to get rid of Shadowban quickly, there are some general rules that you can follow to prevent a Shadowban.
1. Remove any fishy 3rd party apps or software that has access to your Instagram account
To check what apps and websites have access to your IG account:
- Sign into IG on desktop
- Go to “Settings”
- Go to “Apps and Websites”
- Remove apps and websites that seem not authentic
2. Stop using bots, or engagement pods to boost your engagement
3. Avoid using banned hashtags and make sure to check new hashtags before using them
4. Do not over engage. Instagram has limit of Actions per day. And by Actions I mean: commenting, liking, DMing, following/unfollowing, profile visits, etc.
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