What is the Instagram Shadowban?
There has been a lot of hysteria and worry going on about what has been coined as the Instagram Shadowban.
No one knows for sure what the Instagram shadowban is, and I suspect that’s because most of what I hear about it is wild speculation taken from the rumors. In any case, you might want to know the most current info on what the Instagram shadowban is, and how to avoid getting shadowbanned — just in case.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
Rumor of the shadowban started around the same time as a major glitch Instagram was experiencing with it’s hashtag system in early 2017. This glitch was basically causing some people’s posts to not show up under the hashtags they were using.
The most common theory on the Instagram shadowban is that you can receive one for not following Instagram’s rules properly.
Basically, the more spammy and “bot-like” you act, the higher your chances of receiving a shadowban.
There has been a LOT of speculation and misinformation floating around on the topic, but there has been no word about it from Instagram itself. So take from that what you will, and take any rumor you hear with a grain of salt.
If you’ rather be safe than sorry, here’s what to do if you suspect you’ve been shadowbanned on Instagram, and what to do to fix it.
How to know if you’ve been shadowbanned on Instagram
The quickest way to check if you’ve been shadowbanned is to see if your posts are showing up under the hashtags you’ve used for each of your posts.
You might need to log out or get a friend to check this for you. With the shadowban, some people are seeing their posts show up under the hashtags they used when logged in, but others DON’T see your posts under the hashtags from their vantage point.
Publish a post and then ask a friends to search for your post under a few of the hashtags you’ve used. If they can see your post, you’re golden — if not, you might have been shadowbanned.
How to avoid the Instagram shadowban
Since Instagram hasn’t acknowledged the existence of the shadowban, it’s hard to know what rules you should be following in order to avoid getting slapped with one.
I recommend staying within Instagram’s basic rules and guidelines as best you can in order to avoid getting into any trouble.
Instagram is trying to make their community as engaging and as full of awesome content as possible, so the more you do that the better you look to Instagram.
Here are three key things to keep in consideration in order to avoid the Instagram shadowban:
1. Stay away from automated programs that are not affiliated with Instagram
There are a LOT of scammy people on Instagram using bots and automated programs to do all sorts of things like follow people, give likes, and leave comments.
Operating these programs goes against Instagram’s terms of service, so if you’re caught using them or if Instagram suspects you’re using them you could get hit with a ban or other restrictions.
These rules and restrictions are in place to keep Instagram a nice environment for everyone.
Stay away from any tool or program that does your liking, commenting, or following for you. There are NO approved programs that do this, because these features are easily abused.
Three of the big “illegal” but popular Instagram automation softwares are Instagress, Mass Planner, and Follow Liker. Instagram has really cracked down on these programs recently, and Instagress and Mass Planner have since been shut down for good.
Automated spam comments are the bane of my existent on Instagram…
Programs that schedule your posts are another story, and there are lots of options that are perfectly safe for you to use.
Instagram recently changed their rules to allow some third party apps to truly schedule posts to Instagram for you. Before, these apps would only send you a push notification when your scheduled time came around, and you would have to hit the publish button yourself.
Thankfully, that is no longer the case, which makes scheduling your posts and saving time a lot easier for everyone!
I use Later to schedule my Instagram posts, but you can also use Planoly or Hootsuite if you want to consider your options. These three scheduling apps are ALL Instagram Partners, which means they follow the strict guidelines that Instagram sets out. Only the best, most trusted companies get taken on as Instagram Partners.
To check if a tool or program you’re considering is an Instagram Partner (and is therefore totally safe to use) you can check the full list of partners published by Instagram here.
Related Post: Instagram Automation – How to Do it the RIGHT Way
2. Avoid being too active on Instagram
This is a tough one because some of the best ways to grow your Instagram following involve being very active on the platform.
Engaging with your target audience through following them, liking their content, and leaving comments on their posts are all great ways to get their attention and grow your following.
In my course Instagram Launchpad, you’ll learn all of the MOST effective growth methods that are safe to use, and which helped me grow my two Instagram accounts to a combined 115,000 followers in under a year.
But since spammers and bot users are such a big problem, Instagram has some very strict rules in place to limit how much commenting, liking, and following you can do and how quickly you can do it.
These limits and rules AREN’T publicly posted anywhere, which makes things…. tricky.
You’ll have to experiment to find out what a safe pace is for doing any interacting on Instagram.
If you find yourself getting temporarily banned quite often in response to following people too fast or leaving too many likes or comments, you might want to take a bit of a breather.
Instagram notification of a temporary block for following people too quickly.
Getting temp banned or blocked too often should signal to you that Instagram is not happy with your approach!
Instead, slow down a bit! Space out your liking and commenting, and follow people at a slower pace.
You’ll likely grow your following at a slower pace as well, but your account will be safe from getting shadowbanned or shut down permanently.
It’s worth it in the long run, in my humble opinion, and will save you a heck of a lot of frustration.
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3. Avoid using banned hashtags
Sometimes, a whole hashtag gets itself in trouble when too many people post inappropriate content with it.
Using one of these banned hashtags can make it so NONE of your other hashtags work for you.
You can check if a hashtag is banned by going to Instagram’s Explore Page (click the magnifying glass icon to get there), click the search box at the top of your screen, and then click on the ‘Tags’ tab.
Type in any hashtag you want to check into the search box and hit submit.
If Instagram returns the result “No hashtag found” then the hashtag you searched has been banned.
If your hashtag does show up, you’ll need to click on the hashtag search result and head on over to the ‘Recent’ tab to see if any posts are showing.
If no posts are showing and you get the following message, the hashtag is currently banned:
Some hashtags are permanently banned, while some are only banned temporarily — just something to keep in mind!
Avoid using banned hashtags so your other hashtags don’t get blocked and also to avoid getting shadowbanned.
In conclusion… Should I really be worried about the Instagram shadowban?
As long as you’re sticking to Instagram’s rules and you follow the best practices outlined above, you really don’t have anything to worry about in regards to the shadowban.
The Instagram shadowban is largely a myth that has unfortunately spread rapidly across the internet, and has stuck around for quite some time.
It is of course best practice to follow the guidelines listed above because it will help keep your Instagram safe and preserve all the hard work you’ve put into it!
Getting banned or having your account shut down is really a crappy thing to have happen to you, and you should be following all the rules in order to avoid this at all costs.
There are of course lots of measures in place on Instagram to keep people from abusing the system, which is probably what has given people reason to believe in the existence of the shadowban.
As long as you steer clear of questionable behavior, stop using programs that are not approved, and avoid using banned hashtags, you’ll be in the clear.
There are also lots of ways to grow your Instagram without using shady methods that can get you into trouble.
I’ve been able to grow my two Instagram accounts to a combined total of over 115,000 in a single year, and I’d like to share with you how I did it.
Get started with my FREE 5-Day Instagram Bootcamp for creative entrepreneurs — and kick start your audience growth: