21.11 2017 03:58h
21.11 2017 03:58h

What is Shadow Banning on Instagram?

And here's how you can avoid it.
by @Laura Andrea Kell

Have Your Rates Of Engagement Unexpectly Dropped? Your Instagram Could Be Shadow Banned.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the topic of shadow banning on Instagram.

Why are certain accounts shadow banned? How can you check to see if your account has been shadow banned? How long does a shadow ban last? How can you get it removed?

Firstly, it’s important to note that an Instagram shadow ban is more like a timeout than a banishment.

A shadow banned user will still be able to access their account, but will be prevented from interacting with the Instagram community for a period of time. If your account is shadow banned, you will be able to open Instagram and browse through the app, but you won't be able to like, comment or engage with other users.  

If you find yourself shadow banned, don’t panic. The best thing to do is take a break from Instagram for a little while. Shadow bans are temporary and are usually lifted after a few hours.

How do you know if your account has been shadow banned?

If you noticed a large drop in your rates of engagement or impressions, it could be a sign that your account has been shadow banned.

In order to check, find 3-5 Instagram users that don’t follow your account. Ask them to check if your image is appearing within a hashtag that you used on a specific post. Do this with a small hashtag, that isn’t tagged on a regular basis (as a hashtag that has been tagged in a million posts will be hard for others to find).

If none of these users can find the image, chances are your account may have been shadow banned. On the other hand, if some of these users can see your image, you’re probably just experiencing a dip in engagement. 

Why are you shadow banned?

There are a number of reasons why your account could be shadow banned by Instagram.

It’s probably because your behaviour has caught the attention of the platform’s algorithm and spam filter. This can happen if you use any third party apps to post on your behalf (it’s against Instagram’s Terms of Service) or engagement growth services (like SocialEnvy). You can also be shadow banned if your account is frequently being reported by other Instagram users, if you're using restricted hashtags, or if you’re “too active” (i.e. behaving like a bot) on the platform.

Bottom Line: Don’t cut corners when trying to increase your account’s rates of engagement. Avoid liking a large number of images or following other accounts in a short period of time. And don’t post content that might cause other users to report your account.

How is a shadow ban lifted?

The solution to having a shadow ban removed from an account is fairly simple: make sure you’re following Instagram’s community guidelines.

Stop using any “growth hacks” (i.e. bots, comment pods, paid engagement growth services). Remove any broken or abused hashtags from your posts (this includes restricted hashtags). Take a 48 hour break from Instagram and avoid any bot-like behaviour (i.e. rapidly liking or following other accounts within a short period of time).

And, if all else fails, report your problem to Instagram. It might be tough to get in touch with them, but it’s worth a short.

You can also try switching back from a Business Account to a Personal Account for a period of time. Some netizens speculate that Instagram might try to force Business Account users into purchasing ads, as they’re more likely to need engagement. Switching your account back might be enough to increase your rates of engagement.

Have you ever been shadow banned by Instagram? Let us know your experience in the comments below.   


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