What is the Instagram shadowban?
I am sure that by now you have probably heard the term Instagram shadowban being thrown about. But you may not be 100% sure what it is. In my own words…
The Instagram shadowban is basically when Instagram will stop your photos being discoverable for hashtags by people who are not already following you. NOTE – people who follow you will see your photos in the # searches but new people won’t. Therefore, affecting your growth as new audiences will not be seeing your photos in the # searches.
I seem to have been affected by the Instagram shadowban recently, so I thought in today’s post I would share my Instagram shadowban experience, how you can check whether you have been shadowbanned, how to stop being shadowbanned on Instagram and what you can do to overcome an Instagram shadowban – shadowban, shadowban, shadowban!
P.S. Now would be a good time to get yourself a brew 🙂
Have I Been Shadowbanned on Instagram?
In the past few weeks I have been having a bit of a roller coaster ride over on Instagram. Below I will try my best to outline what I have found to be happening to my account. If any of you have been experiencing the same do let me know in the comments below…
FIRSTLY FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM @CHARLOTTEBUTTRICK
I was spammed on Instagram
A few weeks ago I found my account receiving an influx of followers in bulk. I definitely didn’t pay for fake followers so I had no clue where these accounts came from. I knew they were fake due to the type of accounts that were following me. As I didn’t want these on my account I went through each one, marked them as spam and blocked them from my profile so that they were no longer following me.
This happened for the next 3 days. Where 100+ accounts from Brazil would follow me in one go. Which I would then again block or mark as spam. I was so worried that I didn’t know what was happening or how to stop it that I changed my username from lurchhoundloves to what it is currently. Then the spam followers stopped.
I felt like I had been attacked by some one on Instagram and I still have no idea who targeted me and why. Instagram probably flagged that my account received a big influx of followers which were then removed. I tried every way imaginable to contact Instagram via Twitter, Facebook and from within the app. But guess what: I got no reply! I also frantically searched for an email address and telephone number to contact Instagram and ask what I could do about my account being attacked. But again, none of these methods worked.
Instagram is basically impossible to contact!
In the following days I noticed a massive drop in my Instagram engagement on my photos. So I started to investigate…
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE BEEN SHADOWBANNED
There are a number of websites that claim to show whether you have been shadowbanned. But I don’t think they really work. I have found the best way to check whether you have been shadowbanned on Instagram below.
1. Go onto a web browser (on a laptop / desktop or your iPhone) and type in your Instagram page URL. E.g. mine is http://www.instagram.com/charlottebuttrick
2. IMPORTANT – You have to not be logged into Instagram to check this.
3. When you have posted a photo click on the #’s that you have used and see if you show up in the hashtag search feed.
4. If you are not showing for the # when you search not logged in, you most likely have been shadowbanned.
Below I have taken some screenshots for you to outline this. On the left I am logged into Instagram on my app and when I check a # for my photo it is there (the hashtag #senstylable in this example). Then the photo on the right is where I am on my browser and not logged into my account. As you can see the photo is not showing. Which would indicate that photograph has been shadowbanned…
Am I Really Shadowbanned On Instagram?
This is actually baffling me. Have I been shadowbanned or is it just Instagram’s shitty algorithm that is stopping some of my photos from showing on the # search pages? As it is not happening to all of my Instagram photos. For example, my likes change dramatically from photos getting 1000+ likes – see this one here – to others barely hitting 300 likes – see this photo here.
Instagram themselves have stated that they have had issues with hashtag searches in the past. From this statement below it would suggest that it could be their algorithms. Or again this could be a way to cover up a shadowban. Who knows?
Something else that also makes me think it could be an Instagram glitch rather than a shadowban is that when one of my images is not showing in the # search feeds. They are however sometimes showing in the ‘featured’ grid at the top of a search page for some hashtags. How strange that they would show an image in the featured grid if it doesn’t feature in the feed for the rest of the #’s used on the picture (see example below of the same pic that was shadowbanned above…but it’s in the featured box?!)…
Why have I got an Instagram Shadowban?
Here are supposed reasons as to why you could have an Instagram shadowban…
If you use a bot to like / comment on photos or for gaining followers then this could cause an Instagram shadowban.
2. OVER ACTIVITY
There is actually a limit to your activity on Instagram before a red flag is raised. So, don’t like more than 150 photos, comment 60 times or more or follow / unfollow 60 accounts an hour.
3. YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN REPORTED
If someone reports your accounts this is a red flag to Instagram that your account is either spam, fake or violating their terms of service. If you are continuously reported then you could be blocked all together or have a shadowban
4. YOU’RE USING BANNED HASHTAGS
When a hashtag becomes visible for nude, spam and inappropriate images Instagram will ban that # or limit it’s visibility. If you are using one of these hashtags on a photo it may not show up for any of the hashtags you have used at all.
WAYS TO OVERCOME AN INSTAGRAM SHADOWBAN
Firstly, if you are doing any of the above activity on Instagram – STOP IT NOW. Below are other ways that you can try to recover from a shadowban on Instagram…
CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD
The first thing I did was change my password, as I was worried that my account had been hacked. I don’t know if this helps at all but I would do this as my first step.
If there are any hashtags you believe have been banned or you are unsure of. Go through your old photos and remove them from your posts. You can also try posting some photos without any hashtags at all for a while.
CEASE ACTIVITY FOR A FEW DAYS
I have heard people say that if you don’t log into Instagram for 48 hours + that it can reset your account. So try having some downtime. Log out, delete the app and take a little break. At the time of writing this post I am taking an Instagram break for 2-7 days, I haven’t decided yet…I will see how far I get before withdrawal symptoms hit!
RESOLVE APP ACCESS TO INSTAGRAM
In case any of the apps connected to your Instagram account are causing the problem. I would recommend removing all apps from your Instagram account.
STICK TO INSTAGRAM LIMITS
Try to limit your activity on Instagram going forward. That means no more than 150 likes per hour, 60 comments per hour and 60 follows / unfollows per hour (as stated above).
I think this is where my shadowban began when I removed the influx of spam accounts in a short space of time. I should maybe have spaced it out. But, as I panicked that my account had been hacked or attacked I wanted to get rid of them quickly as possible!
REPORT IT TO INSTAGRAM
You can add the shake to report function or go to your settings and send a report to Instagram to tell them your problem. Trust me, I have used this too many times. Each time a photo isn’t showing for #’s I will shake my phone on the photo to report it to Instagram E.g. – This image isn’t showing for the categorised tags. Whether they take any notice or not, I couldn’t tell you.
PERSONAL VS BUSINESS INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS
Online there is debate on whether the shadowban affects business accounts more. As Instagram want you to pay for advertising on the platform. I don’t know whether or not this is true. I am back on a business account as I like to have the swipe up function for my audience. But, I would love to know about your own experience with personal VS business accounts in the comments below.
Have You Had An Instagram Shadowban?
So there we have a rather long post on the Instagram shadowban topic. I hope that my ramble has made sense and if you have any comments let’s discuss this baffling topic! And if you’re not already you can follow me on Instagram – @CharlotteButtrick. If you have followed me and joined me from this blog post comment on my latest Instagram photo to let me know 🙂
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