If you're an Instagram user, the horror of the infamous shadowban has probably kept you up at night, panicking and sweating profusely about pretty much nothing at all. You've no doubt encountered a bunch of posts on Facebook featuring lists of "automatic shadowban hashtags" and been scared silly, so we thought we'd do a little debunking for you so that you can sleep easy.
What is a shadowban?
A shadowban doesn't ban you from using the Instagram app, but it will prevent you from interacting with Instagram's vibrant community and getting that sweet, sweet engagement on your posts.
How do I know if I've been shadowbanned?
We recommend using an obscure hashtag in a post and searching for that hashtag to see if your post shows up. Alternatively, ask a friend to find your profile. If your post isn't showing up or your profile can't be found, chances are you've fallen victim to the shadowban.
Why does an account receive a shadowban?
That's actually the truth of it. Instagram haven't provided anybody with a real explanation, but we can hazard a guess here and suggest that if you violate their terms and conditions, you'll probably be on the receiving end of a shadowban. Instagram have had to tighten their rules due to the rise of bots and spam, so in order to keep their community safe and authentic, the shadowban has to be in operation.
Which particular behaviours can get me shadowbanned?
Being shadowbanned means you've caught the attention of Instagram's algorithm and spam filters. You may be using a third-party app (to post/like/follow) that's unrecognised by the platform, you might be "too active" (by following everyone you see and/or mindlessly liking everything) or you may be using banned hashtags... and that's where the debunking comes in.
Those lists you've seen going around Facebook are probably a load of rubbish. If a hashtag feed displays a message that reads "...the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram's community guidelines", that'll be a hashtag to avoid. What you see on Facebook is generally a randomly populated and/or out of date list which is there primarily for the page owner to boost engagement or look like an expert.
How do I avoid a shadowban?
Act like a human; it really is that simple.
Keep your interactions authentic and double check your hashtags, and you should be fine!
What if I'm already shadowbanned?
Chill out and slow down. Make your interactions steady and minimal, and your account status should be reset within a few days.
If you are shadowbanned, it's probably not going to be out of the blue. You'll know what you've done, so it ought to be an easy fix to get yourself out of that hole. Like most things in life, just be a decent human and you'll be fine.
Need a hand with your Instagram or want to hand it over to the experts? Get in touch!