The Instagram community appears to be in a total frenzy at the moment, with bot outings and shadowbans galore. I've never used a bot before but unfortunately, I was shadowbanned a few weeks ago. Thankfully I managed to overcome it and I'm back on track. Instagram shadowbans are really designed to catch out spam accounts but unfortunately, real people get caught up in them too. I've been reading up on them so I'm sharing all the information I've learnt and hopefully letting you know how you can solve the problem if you've been affected yourself.
So what is an Instagram Shadowban?
This is the name given to Instagram blocking your post(s) from appearings on hashtags or locations. It makes it really hard to have your photos found by new people. Essentially, if you're attempting to grow your following then it is a real life nightmare.
Why do they occur?
There also doesn't seem to be a set of rules that will get you shadowbanned but here are some things that people believe have gotten them banned:
- Repetitively using the same hashtags.
- Repetitively using too many hashtags.
- Putting hashtags in the comments, not the caption.
- Using some sort of automated bot to like photos/follow accounts.
- Bulk replying to comments.
- Using Instagram pods.
- Liking or engaging with 'dodgy content' like porn etc.
Personally, I think my ban occurred because of using the same hashtags. But generally, anything that could be considered as 'spammy' behaviour is looked upon disfavourably by Instagram
How to find out if you've been shadowbanned:
The best way to find out if you've been shadowbanned is to ask an account that doesn't follow you to check if your photos are appearing in the hashtags. If not, then you've probably been shadowbanned. It'll be easy enough to find someone to do this on a blogger's FB group or by asking on Twitter.
Also normally if your photo is appearing on hashtags then your photos will be liked by people who don't follow you. If the only people liking your photos are your followers then this can also really easily hint at a shadowban.
There have been various websites going around that can apparently check for you but I'm not sure how accurate they really are.
How to get rid of one:
Unfortunately, it seems that there is no real rule as to how to overcome the shadowban. However, I can tell you what worked for me and hopefully, it might work for you!
- I went through my last 10 or so photos and deleted my comments with hashtags.
- I didn't post anything on Instagram for about a week but was very active with liking and leaving insightful comments on others.
- After about a week I tested it using a photo with smaller hashtags that I don't usually use and then got an account that doesn't follow me to check if the photos were showing and they appeared!
- After my shadow ban had been 'lifted' I've been making the effort to try and switch up my hashtags a bit more.
Other things to consider:
- Shadow bans seem to be photo, not account, specific so try not to panic too much.
- I've heard a lot of people saying to use hashtags in the caption, not the comment. So far I've been fine with using my hashtags in the comments but it's something to keep in mind.
- There have also been discussions of how to reply to comments, it appears that Instagram seems to look disfavourably on those who reply to lots of comments within the one comment. That's not something that I really do so I can't comment on how that might affect things. Comment. Comment. Comment.
- Some people have also said that switching from a business account to a personal account stopped their ban. However, mine was never a business account, to begin with so again I can't comment on this.
So that's all that I've got to say about Instagram shadowbans. Hopefully, this post might help you out if you're going through the same problem as it's really frustrating!
Have you ever been shadowbanned? Leave your experience in the comments along with any advice!