The shadow ban is still an ongoing issue and hard discussed subject on Instagram. As I was a victim myself, I thought it might be a good idea to share my experience. I will explain what the shadowban actually is, how you can detect it and what you can do yourself to overcome it.
Written by Anskar
What is the Shadowban
If you are sharing your pictures on Instagram, you do it for a reason. You probably want to reach people that you don’t know or that don’t follow you yet. Unfortunately, Instagram found a way to prevent exactly that from happening. The so-called shadowban. This “ban” assures that your posts stay undetected for non-followers which results in a lack of reach, likes and engagement.
Instagram even admitted the shadowban in an announcement but they disguised it as a “bug they are working on”. Others say the shadowban is originally created to fight fake profiles and spammers. If bug or on purpose doesn’t really matter, as it hits many common users that have no intention of spamming.
It seems as if Instagram doesn’t really care about this problem as it leads to more income. How? Well people simply promote their pictures when they feel a lack in engagement/reach. If intentionally or not, Instagram is definitely profiting from the shadowban. And I personally don’t think Instagram will do something against it in the near future.
How is the Shadowban happening
The shadowban is not really a ban and is definitely not permanently. In most cases I’ve heard of, it is “just” a ban of one or more hashtags you use. What happens is, that your picture is simply not shown among the hashtags you use. Let’s say you use the hashtag #instagram_shadowban. If people would go through all recent pictures on #instagram_shadowban, they would not find your picture among them. The problem is that this one (or more) hashtag(s) will automatically ban all other hashtags as well, resulting in a post “without” hashtags. The tricky part is, that the hashtags will still be visible under your post and won’t disappear. That’s why many people don’t notice it in the first place. This drastically lowers your reach as your picture now can only be found by your followers. No other people will see your picture when looking through the hashtags you used. And remember.. you can use up to 30 hashtags!
These hashtags are often referred to as “banned hashtags”. As I have another account for organizing my images, I could test if the use of the same hashtags has any influence there. And it didn’t! That means, it’s not only the hashtags itself but the combination with your profile. Somehow, the algorithm notices you as some sort of spam/fake profile and will ban your images from reaching non-followers.
How can you survive the Shadowban
First of all, make it number one on your priority list to test out whether you’re shadowbanned or not. I do it literally after every post and would advise to do so. Simply click on one of the hashtags you used under a just posted image. Then click on “recent”, if you find your image between all others you can be relieved. If not, double check with some more hashtags. If you can’t find your image among the hashtags you are banned for sure.
To fix it, I just had to find out which hashtags caused trouble, and repost the image without these specific tags. Eventually, this solved the problem for the moment. To find them, I just posted the image with the first half of the hashtags and checked whether I see my post or not. I did the same for the other half. And eventually got rid of some more hashtags and tried it all over again until the number of hashtags was reduced more and more. For me it were 1-2 specific hashtags that did it to me in the beginning.
Unfortunately, some days later I was shadowbanned again and couldn’t find any “banned” hashtags. This time it helped to just repost the image over and over again until it finally worked. Sometimes it even helped to just wait a couple of minutes and the image magically appeared among the hashtags. As for now, I’m free of any shadowbans since these incidents.
Other helpful Tips
1. Make sure to not always use the same hashtags, variety is key.
2. Inspect your hashtag on anything that could be associated with nudity, violence or spamming.
3. Don’t use third party apps that like and comment for you (bot apps).
4. Bring some variety in your comment answers. Don’t write the same “thank you” under every comment.
5. Don’t even bother buying likes or followers.
If you ever feel a lack of engagement, don’t promote your account for money! Always check first if you are shadowbanned. Did the shadowban ever hit you? What did you do to overcome it? Tell me in the comments or let’s chat on Instagram! Always happy to help if you have any further questions.