October 13, 2022
 min read

How to Know if You're Shadowbanned and How to Remove It

How to know if you're shadowbanned on Instagram and how to get unshadowbanned? Read what is Instagram shadowban and how to remove it.

How to Know if You're Shadowbanned and How to Remove It

If you’re an active user of Instagram, then you might have come across the term “shadowban.” In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Instagram shadowbans, what they are, how they work, and what you can do if it’s happening to you.

What is an Instagram Shadowban?

Instagram Shadowban

An Instagram Shadowban is when your account gets banned or restricted from appearing in the public domain. This means that your content will not show up in hashtags, Explore Page, and other areas where people can discover new content.

It boils down to you putting a lot of time and effort into your posts and striving for engagement and growth just for it to be hidden from, not only potential new followers, but, from the people that already follow you. It can be extremely frustrating, and the whole process is completely automated, which makes it even harder to understand why your content is being hidden in the first place.

How to Know if you’re Shadowbanned on Instagram?

How to Know if you’re Shadowbanned

If you think you may have been shadowbanned, there are a few ways to check. There's no foolproof way to see if you've been shadowbanned, but there are a few other things you can try.

1. Check your posts

First, create a post with a hashtag that not many people use. Then ask friends or employees to search for that hashtag and see if your post is visible. If they can't see your content, it's likely you've been shadowbanned.

2. Check your handle

Ask a friend to search your handle in the search bar. How many letters do they have to type for your name to display? If they have to type every single letter of your handle before your name displays, you may be shadowbanned.

3. Check your hashtags

Look through several pages of hashtags you've used recently. If you see a message that your posts are hidden, then a shadowban is possible. You may also see a #mustfollow hashtag. Instagram uses this to tag posts that have been shadowbanned based on the hashtags you use. So, even if your content isn't in violation of the community guidelines, they will block your content if you use similar hashtags to others who have been banned.

4. Check Instagram Insights Data

If you're using a business account, you can check your Instagram Insights Data to see if there's a sudden drop in impressions or views. If you notice a sharp decline, it's likely that you've been shadowbanned.

The best metric to view is the percentage of accounts reached that were not following you previously. If you see a significant drop in this percentage, it's very likely you've been shadowbanned.

Why am I Shadowbanned?

Why am I Shadowbanned on Instagram

Instagram does this without telling its users, and they do it if they believe you've violated the community guidelines or posted inappropriate content. Instagram doesn't publicize its shadowbanning practices, but there are a number of reasons why they do it.

Use of bots or Instagram automation service

One reason Instagram may shadowban an account is if the user is using a bot or an Instagram automation service. These are software programs that automate repetitive tasks, like liking and commenting on photos, following users, and unfollowing users.

They're against the Instagram community guidelines because they violate the rules about in authentic behavior. So, if you're using one of these services, it's likely that your account will be shadowbanned.

Content was reported as inappropriate

Another reason you may be shadowbanned is if your content was reported as inappropriate. If enough people report your content, Instagram will consider it in violation of their community guidelines, and they may shadowban your account. You may be surprised to find that Instagram would consider your content inappropriate, however, their extensive list of do’s and don'ts can be found here. If you are curious about qualifying for their new monetization features, the list is even more strict and can be found here.

Exploration activity

If you've been exploring Instagram a lot, like liking and commenting on photos, following and unfollowing people, and viewing stories, you may be shadowbanned. This is because exploration activity can be a sign of inauthentic behavior, which is against the community guidelines. So, if you're doing too much exploration, it's likely that your account will be shadowbanned.

Restricted Hashtags

Another reason you may be shadowbanned is if you're using too many hashtags, or if you're using banned hashtags. Instagram allows users to follow up to 30 hashtags, and if you use more than that, your content will be hidden.

In some cases, you may not have violated the community guidelines, but you're using a hashtag they have flagged in other posts that do violate guidelines. In this case, you'll want to avoid using that hashtag.

How to Get Un-shadowbanned on Instagram

How to Get Un-shadowbanned

If you suspect you've been shadowbanned, there are several things you can do to reverse the action.

Stop activity that led to the shadowban

If you were using a bot or an automation service, the first thing you should do is stop using it. This is a violation of the community guidelines, and it's what likely got you shadowbanned in the first place.

You'll also want to avoid any other activity that may have led to the shadowban, like using banned hashtags, posting “inappropriate” content, or excessive exploration. You could also just pause all Instagram activity for a period of time, but for many businesses, this isn't a viable solution.

Remove permissions from third-party apps

If you've given any third-party apps permission to access your Instagram account, you'll want to remove those permissions. This is because some of these apps violate the community guidelines, and they could be what got you shadowbanned.

To remove permissions from third-party apps, go to your profile and tap the three dots in the top right corner. Then, tap "Settings", and scroll down to "Security". From there, you can tap "Apps and Websites" and remove any permissions you've given to third-party apps.

Avoid banned hashtags

If you're using any hashtags that have been flagged as violating the community guidelines, you'll want to avoid them. This includes anything that's inappropriate, like nudity or hate speech.

You can check if a hashtag has been banned by doing a search on Instagram. If the hashtag doesn't appear in the results, it's probably been banned.

Avoid getting reported

If you don't want to be shadowbanned, you'll need to avoid getting reported. This means avoiding any content that could be considered inappropriate, like anything that could be considered sexual in nature or hate speech.

Contact Instagram Customer Support

If you've tried all of these things, and you're still shadowbanned, the best thing to do is contact Instagram customer support. If you are able to have any luck reaching them, they may be able to help you troubleshoot the problem.

You can also submit an appeal to Instagram. If you think you were shadowbanned by mistake, you can submit an appeal to Instagram. To do this, go to the Help Center and select "Something's Not Working". Then, select "My account is locked or disabled" and "Appeal an Instagram Action". From there, you can fill out the form and submit your appeal.

Follow Instagram Community Guidelines

The best way to avoid being shadowbanned is to follow the Instagram community guidelines from the beginning. Make sure you familiarize yourself with these guidelines and avoid posting inappropriate content. If you do post something that violates the guidelines, it may be more difficult to revive your engagement and growth, however, it isn’t impossible. Take a look at the content that exists on your page now, and see if there are any posts you could remove to make your content, as a whole, compliant.

Instagram is constantly evolving, and new updates are released all the time. To make sure you're up-to-date on all the latest changes, follow Instagram on their blog, Twitter, and other social media channels. This way, you can stay up-to-date on all the latest news and updates to the community guidelines.

Final Thoughts

Instagram shadowbanning is a frustrating problem, and for some it may seem like a lost cause.  Although it can be challenging to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms and restrictions, for some, it’s a necessary chore in order to maintain growth for marketing your content or small business.   And for those who are tired of the system that exists, all hope is not lost.  More creators are realizing that the system in place does not have to be the system we accept.

Platforms are being built by creators and developers who are looking to solve core problems experienced on centralized platforms, like Instagram, are beginning to emerge.  Keep your eyes open for buzzwords like “WEB3” and “decentralized” as these terms relate to the new movement in favor of artists taking advantage of blockchain technology in order to monetize, authenticate transactions, and market their content in a better, more creator-controlled, way.

Latest Articles

Browse all