Have You Been Shadowbanned from Instagram?
A lot of Instagram users have been complaining of the same thing – engagement dropping and follower counts going static for seemingly no reason.
What is Instagram's shadowban and how do you know if it’s happened to you?
Well, according to Later, the term started on Twitter after the social media giant announced they were giving “time outs” to users who did not comply with their rules and policies. Specifically, the behavior was for users who were implementing the use of Twitter bots to mass like, follow and comment on other users' profiles in a spammy manner.
A shadowban is when a user is blocked or hidden from an online platform or community, that many times goes undetected by the person who is banned.
On Instagram, if you’ve been shadowbanned it means your posts have been hidden from anyone on the app who doesn’t already follow you – which also means any hashtags you use will not be visible to the outside community unless that person is already in your network.
You can see how this is very problematic for growing your Instagram community or business account. And consequently, if you’ve been shadowbanned you’ll notice your engagement plummet (likes, comments and shares) and follower growth decline.
So how do you get shadowbanned by Instagram? Well, it’s supposed to detect users who implement spammy behavior (makes sense, right?), however there have been a slew of users who have complained of shadowbanning effects for doing something as simple as using the same hashtags repeatedly in their posts or accidentally using banned hashtags.
On February 28th, Instagram addressed the hashtag search issues in a statement.
“We understand users have experienced issues with our hashtag search that caused posts not to surface. We are continuously working on improvements to our systems with the resources available,” the announcement read.
Shadowbans make complete sense for users who have implemented growth strategies that break the rules – like using third-party software that doesn't follow the app's guidelines, bots and other extreme measures to increase page likes and followers. But using the same hashtag in every post should not warrant the same infraction.
So why would Instagram penalize users from using the same hashtag repeatedly? Some think it’s because the popular social media app is following in their parent company’s footsteps and, like Facebook, making it so businesses need to invest in paid advertising for real results.
At this time, Instagram has yet to take responsibility for these seemingly unjust shadowbans – so your best bet is to avoid them all together.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting shadowbanned by Instagram:
Avoid using banned or broken hashtags: This sounds simple, but it’s not. Even the most harmless of hashtags can be banned by Instagram at any time if users have violated their community guidelines with that tag. If a hashtag you’re using has been banned or blocked, you’ll notice that when you try to search for it won’t appear or the results that populate will be limited. Here are a few examples of Instagram's banned hashtags: #adultlife, #beautyblogger, #dogsofinstagram, #kansas, #valentinesday and #womancrushwednesday. You can find a complete list of 2018’s banned hashtags here.
Don’t break Instagram’s rules: Don’t use spammy behavior – whether it’s implementing bots that auto-like, auto-comment or auto-follow, or doing the same behavior yourself. Also, stay away from third-party apps that auto-post for you. If you are using third-party publishing software, make sure it abides by Instagram’s terms of service.
Don’t get reported or blocked by other users: You have a higher chance of getting shadowbanned by Instagram if you are blocked or reported by another user. If this happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be shadowbanned but it might cause Instagram to look at your account and determine themselves if you have violated any of their policies.
If you think you have been shadowbanned by Instagram, there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation.
First, stop using any bots or auto-publishing software that violates their terms and services.
Take a break from Instagram – all activity. Try to stay off the app for 2-3 days. This means no posting, no liking, no following and no logging in. When you do start using the app again, do all activity manually through the app.
Report your shadowban to Instagram. You can do this by logging into your account and selecting “report a problem.” You’ll be prompted to fill out a short message, where you can describe what’s not working with your account. Instead of calling it a “shadowban,” tell the app that you posts are not populating the apps hashtag search.
Need help with your social media or digital marketing? Contact Socialite Network and we’ll find the perfect strategy for your brand (and your budget!).