Category Technology
instagram shadowban Do you think your Instagram engagement has unexpectedly dropped? You might be shadowbanned. This guide explains what a shadowban is and ways to check if you are shadowbanned. It all chalks out the ways to prevent it.

Have you witnessed a sudden decrease in followers and engagement on your account overnight? Or imagine being unable to see your pictures under the hashtag you placed in your caption. 

Scared and unable to make out what went wrong? Worried your years of efforts to grow your account have gone in vain? Well, you are probably experiencing an Instagram Shadowban. Millions of users get shadowbanned every year. A shadowban can drastically impact the growth of your account as it restricts your reach. 

So, some questions that might come to your mind must be: What is an Instagram shadowban? What are the ways to get rid of this? How can you prevent this situation? Well, worry not, as this article will answer all these questions. So, dive right in! 

What is Instagram Shadowban?

Instagram Shadowban is a situation in which the reach of your content suddenly goes down due to its limited visibility. However, Instagram does not actually acknowledge the existence of the shadowban. Now, a simple question arises – “Why does Instagram shadowban an account?” The answer is actually quite simple.

Instagram, like all social media sites, has a set of rules and content guidelines. These are to protect the users against inappropriate, NSFW, or spam-like content. When you violate these guidelines, you can get shadowbanned. 

Now, since the shadowban is not acknowledged by Instagram, it can be very frustrating due to lack of official confirmation.

However, there are some common identifiers that can help you understand if you have been shadowbanned. Some of them are as follows:

  • You might see a clear drop in your visibility on the users' feed. 
  • Your uploaded content, with the relevant hashtags, won’t appear on anyone but your followers' feed. 

Now, before we get into how you can unban your shadowbanned Instagram account, let’s first know what the people on Facebook and Instagram have to say about this matter.

What does Facebook + Instagram say About Shadowban?

Although Facebook and Instagram have been denying the use of Instagram shadowban since 2018, users have continued to deal with its effects. This is also why there has been a lot of confusion about how Instagram’s algorithm works and uses the shadowban.

ig shadow ban

Even though they apologized to a big sect of influencers back in 2019 for what was essentially an Instagram shadowban, they still never acknowledged its existence. Carolina Haddas, one of the content creators who received the apology, stated:

Shadowban is a term that Instagram does not use. They have never used it. They have always denied it was a thing. It does not mean that the things included in the shadowban label are not happening.” This makes a lot of sense. Instagram denies shadowban because they do not call it that.

Reduce, Remove, Inform: The Instagram Borderline Content Policy

Instagram's parent company, Facebook, has been using the Reduce, Remove, Inform policy for their users and content. What this basically means is that Facebook removes the content that deems to be violating its guidelines.

This reduces the visibility of content that does not explicitly violate their guidelines. They further inform the users about the content they are seeing.

Now, out of all these, the key part is ‘Reduce’. Facebook has been censoring and reducing the visibility of content creators based on what they consider “the gray area.” The gray area basically refers to the content that is a little questionable but not in violation of any guidelines. These accounts are the most susceptible. 

Instagram recently also put out a statement about using machine learning models to determine whether the content is eligible to be shown in users' feeds. Moderators start by marking or identifying the content in the ‘gray area’ and use it to train the models. This selective promotion or reduction of content is the very definition of Instagram shadowban. 

Why am I Shadowbanned on Instagram?

There are a number of possible reasons for your account to get shadowbanned. However, it is important to note that there is no official or sureshot way to know you have a shadowbanned Instagram account. Some possible reasons can be:

1. Use of “BOTS”

If you are using bots or some other way to increase your following in the wrong way, Instagram can impose the IG shadowban on you. The use of bots and other unauthentic ways to increase your reach and following is looked down upon by Instagram. They always encourage content creators to try to curate their content to engage with their target demographic.

Instagram looks at it as an unfair practice, and instead of banning the accounts, it simply uses the shadowban.

2. Wrong Use of Hashtags

shadowbanned instagram

Hashtags are used by Instagram to curate global trending content. But many times, people overload these hashtags with inappropriate or irrelevant posts to make them rank higher. Instagram removes or restricts the use of such hashtags. 

Using these “broken” hashtags is another practice frowned upon by Instagram and can cause you to get a shadowbanned Instagram account. This can lead to Instagram limiting your use of hashtags for your posts or even not ranking the hashtags from your other posts.

3. Too Many Instances of Getting Reported

Yes, it is true! Many times, people can find even non-offensive content offensive and report it. However, this raises a doubt as to whether Instagram actually takes any action against it. Well, they do both by sometimes officially banning an account and sometimes unofficially imposing the IG shadowban on the content creator's account.

Too many reports will get you banned. Nobody knows the exact number of reports you need to get banned on Instagram. But there has to be a number. Rather than banning the accounts and creating some sort of uproar about the ban, Instagram can silently use the Instagram shadowban to reduce the outreach and visibility of such accounts.

4. You are Following or Engaging with People too “Quickly”

If you have been commenting or replying to all your comments in a very short span or following multiple accounts very quickly, you can very well face the Instagram Shadowban. Imagine a scenario where you end up following 50-70 people on Instagram within an hour. This is the same as a bot or some other bot that is working for you. 

5. Violating Instagram Content Guidelines

Instagram takes its content guidelines very seriously. These are policies they have created and curated to ensure that the content is safe to consume for the users. They do not tolerate violations of these policies. However, as mentioned in the gray area above, there are posts that skirt these guidelines. 

For example, according to the Instagram guidelines, you need to make sure you have the right to post anything on the social media app. However, you must have definitely come across many accounts and pages posting reused content from famous influencers. 

The number of people doing this is huge. Thus, to prevent this or discourage it from happening without banning hundreds of thousands of accounts, they use the Instagram shadowban.

How to Check if You’ve Been Shadowbanned

Well, now that you know what an Instagram shadowban is and the possible reasons for it, you must be wondering if I am shadowbanned. Here are some ways to find out if you are shadowbanned:

1. Use a Test Post

shadow ban instagram

This is a fairly simple and an easy-to-use method to answer questions like “is my Instagram shadowbanned?” Firstly, you will need to find a rather unpopular hashtag. Consider using hashtags that are not widely used for your upcoming post. 

Aim for hashtags with less than 1,000 posts associated with them. Then, ask someone who does not follow your account to search for the hashtag you have included. If they are unable to find your post, there is a chance your account might be shadowbanned.

This is the most common Instagram shadowban test. Using the above method is an easy way to check whether you are facing the shadowban or have a natural slump in your content engagement.

2. Check Your Previous Posts

Look at the tags you used in the post that might have caused the shadowban on Instagram. Some of them might not align with Instagram's policies or could be considered harmful to the platform's community. 

They could also be hashtags that were previously banned. Remove these tags and monitor your analytics for the next 2-3 days. 

If, after a couple of days, you see a spike in your analytics or see some engagement resembling what it was before, then there is a great chance you were facing an Instagram shadowban.

3. Review the Analytics Data

instagram shadow page

Check the Instagram analytics data to spot some markers that indicate a shadowbanned Instagram account. To access Instagram analytics for creators, first, ensure you're using a creator account. 

Then, browse your profile and touch on the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner, followed by ‘Insights.’ From there, you can see an overview of your account's performance and explore insights about individual posts and stories. 

It will allow you to learn more about your followers in the ‘Audience’ section. Monitoring these metrics regularly can help you understand if you are facing an Instagram shadowban.

How to Get Unshadowbanned on Instagram?

Now, once you figure out if you have a shadowban, a natural question arises- how to remove shadowban on Instagram? Well, since there is no way to confirm if you have a shadowban due to the lack of an official statement by Instagram. Thus, below are a few ways by which you can get unshadowbanned from Instagram:

1. Content Warnings are a Must

shadow ban instagram

Most people do not like being surprised by upsetting things when they are scrolling through social media. If you share content that is disturbing or unexpected, they might report it, leading to an Instagram shadowban. 

Thus, it is important to clearly let your followers know if your post could upset them, even if you have a good reason for sharing it.

For instance, if you run an account that shares historical facts and you need to post a picture of a war, it is helpful to include a warning. This warning could be the first frame of a video or the first post in a series of pictures. 

Being transparent about your content helps Instagram and its users understand that you are trying to educate. This reduces the chances of your post being reported and hidden from others. Thus, if you were shadowbanned due to being reported a few too many times, this will help you start anew.

2. Be Careful with Hashtags

am i shadowbanned

It is no secret that Instagram bans certain hashtags, and many of them for a good reason. Thus, many a time, knowingly or unknowingly, you may end up using a banned hashtag. This is a big red flag for the Instagram moderators. This can very well lead to you facing a shadowban without even knowing what a shadowban is.

Thus, using hashtags carefully and in moderation is one of the key ways to avoid shadowbans. Use them judiciously so as not to overload a popular hashtag on your post which has nothing to do with the hashtag. 

Creators do this to get their posts high up in the rankings, but this can bring about the shadowban. Once you get a shadowban, your engagement and reach go down the drain.

3. Third-Party Apps

ig shadow ban

Many apps available today rely on gaining access to your Instagram account in order to function properly. Are you currently using an application to keep track of who follows or unfollows you at any given time, to search for specific hashtags, or to automate interactions? 

Unfortunately, engaging in these activities through third-party apps is not advised and is even frowned upon, leading to an Instagram shadowban.

It is important that you exercise caution and only grant permissions to applications that are officially approved and recognized as trusted partners by Instagram. These approved partners have been granted permission to utilize Instagram's API (Application Programming Interface).

They comply with the platform's guidelines and regulations. By following this approach, you may protect the integrity and security of your Instagram account while still reaping the benefits of third-party applications. 

Using an unrecognized third-party app is a very possible reason for an Instagram shadowban. There are many Instagram-approved third-party apps to help content creators in engaging better with their audience. Thus, stopping using these third-party apps is a step in the right direction to getting unshadowbanned.

4. Follow Content guidelines

If your posts skirt around the content guidelines and are in the gray area, there is a good chance you have been shadowbanned on Instagram. Thus, adhering strictly to the guidelines and not making your content violate any of the guidelines is a good way to get your account back on track. 

It is smart to stick to the guidelines and make sure your content follows all the rules. This helps you avoid any issues and get your account back to normal.  

5. Take a Break

Many users facing the IG shadow ban issue have reported that simply by taking a break from the app for a few days, they freed their account from a shadowban. Thus, it is a good idea to give the algorithm time to reset and start fresh with your posts to get back to your previous levels of content engagement.

6. Contact Instagram

If your followers cannot see your posts or find you on the Explore page, it might be helpful to reach out to Instagram Support for assistance. This is generally a big marker for getting an Instagram shadowban. You can do this by following these steps: 

Step 1: Navigate yourself to your Profile, then click on the Menu, followed by Settings (which looks like a cog icon).

Step 2: Click on the ‘Help’ option.

Step 3: Finally, you must click on ‘Report a Problem’.

Instead of mentioning a "shadowban," simply inform them that your followers are not able to view your posts, and it is creating a negative impact on your business. This straightforward approach can help clarify the issue without using technical jargon.

is my instagram shadowbanned

7. Avoid Spamming

Getting involved in spammy behaviors, like using automated bots or posting a lot in a short time, can lead to serious issues like getting an Instagram shadowbanned. It is best to steer clear of relying on automated tools to do many things at once. Instead, handle your account yourself and keep up a real and steady presence.

This allows you to actually connect with your audience and make them feel like they are also interacting with an actual human. Moreover, avoiding spam and bot-like behavior goes a long way to both avoiding shadowbans and getting unshadowbanned.

Read More: Explore our guide on How to View Instagram Account Without Login.  


Instagram shadowban is a very real thing, and it affects a lot of content creators. Instagram and Facebook can deny it as much as they like, but user experiences give proof of this supposed myth. 

There are multiple ways to avoid being shadowbanned, but the best way is to be true to yourself and your followers. Post genuine and authentic content to cater to your followers. Thus, staying on the grind and rising with the flow is one of the easiest ways to avoid an Instagram shadowban.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Long Does Instagram Shadowban Last?

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  • How do you Know if you are Shadowbanned on Instagram?

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  • How do I get rid of Shadowban on Instagram?

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  • Why is my Content not Being Seen on Instagram?

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  • What Happens During a Shadowban?

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  • What are Banned Hashtags?

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  • Can Instagram Block Your Reach?

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  • What is a Shadowban?

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By Manish

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With a mixture of literature, cinema, and photography, Manish is mostly traveling. When he is not, he is probably writing another tech news for you!

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