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Everything You Need to Know About the Instagram Shadowban

Paul Chambers

By Paul Chambers | June 2017

Have you noticed a reduction in your Instagram engagement or post reach? You may be a victim of Instagram’s newest algorithm change, also known as the Shadowban. We’re here to help you learn what Instagram’s Shadowban is, why you may have been banned, and how you can fix it!

What is Instagram Shadowban?

The Shadowban is Instagram’s way of filtering accounts that don’t comply with their Terms of Use. The filtering works by banning images from appearing in the certain hashtag feeds for people who don’t follow your account, reducing the organic reach of your post.

How do I know if I’ve been Shadowbanned?

To determine if you’ve been shadowbanned, find someone who doesn’t follow your account on Instagram. Ask them to try to find your photo in one of the hashtag feeds you used on that image. Since some hashtags have millions of photos in their feed, use a unique hashtag so that it is easier for that person to find your photo. If your photo is not showing up, you have likely been shadowbanned.

Why was I Shadowbanned and how can I fix it?

1. Automation Services or Buying Followers

Instagram has daily and hourly engagement limits for following, liking, and commenting. Using an automation service or purchasing followers not only violates Instagram’s Terms of Use but also may exceed the engagement limits. Instagram will likely shadowban you if they suspect you are using one of these services or violating their engagement limits.

Solution: Stop using these services immediately, even if you have not been banned yet. We recommend you avoid using bots or automation services on all social media platforms. Bots are not an organic way to grow your social awareness and will likely hurt your engagement in some way. Not using any bots? Try taking a break from Instagram for a little while. When you start engaging with your followers again, be sure to keep it natural.

2. Broken or Banned Hashtags

Sometimes hashtags can become associated with inappropriate images. Instagram’s way of filtering through these spam posts is by banning or breaking the hashtag. If you have used one or more broken hashtags, your entire post may suffer, even on functioning hashtag feeds.

Solution: Find the broken hashtags you have used and stopped adding them to your posts. It will also help if you switch up the reoccurring hashtags you use. We recommend using 11-20 hashtags in each post you make. We suggest making half of the hashtags broad and the other half more specific. It’s also a good idea to make sure the hashtags you use are relevant not only to your brand but the specific post as well.

3. You’ve been reported

If someone has reported your account, Instagram will either shadowban you or completely disable your profile.

Solution: Contact Instagram’s customer service. Instagram’s official support email is Since there are over 700 million users on Instagram, it may take some time to get ahold of them. You can also select the “Report a Problem” option to contact Instagram about the issue. If you have been reported, be conscious of what you are posting and why someone may have reported you. Make sure you are following Instagram’s rules on what you can and cannot post.

What do you think of Instagram’s shadowban? Let us know in the comments section.

Paul Chambers

Written by

Element5 Digital

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