What Is The Instagram Shadowban?

The dreaded yet elusive Instagram shadowban. There is a lot of confusion about what the term “shadowban” means, if it’s a real thing, and how to remove the shadowban.

If you’ve noticed that your engagement is down, you’re losing followers, or your posts aren’t appearing under the hashtags you’ve used, you may be shadowbanned. If you have been shadowbanned, don’t panic: there are methods to try and lift the ban and restore your account. Keep reading to learn all about Instagram’s shadowban.

What Is The Shadowban?

A shadowban is a secret ban on an account that prevents posts from being seen by anyone other than your followers. It essentially blocks your content, so users who don’t follow you cannot discover it, cutting down on your likes, followers, and hiding your post on hashtag pages. The shadowy part of the shadowban is that Instagram does not notify you that you’ve been banned; they simply block your content.

Instagram denies the existence of a shadowban, but many users have argued otherwise. The following statement from Instagram alludes to complaints about a shadowban:

shadowban Instagram

If your engagement is down, followers are dropping off, or you notice that your hashtagged or geotagged posts don’t appear on the pages for those tags, you may be a victim of the shadowban.

Am I Shadowbanned?

If you’re reading this and thinking you may be shadowbanned, there are a few ways to figure out if Instagram blocked your account. Instagram does not alert you to a ban, of course, so it can be hard to tell sometimes if your engagement is bad for other reasons. If you’ve noticed the following happening to your account, it should send up some red flags that you may have been banned.

Instagram Hashtags Not Working

When you include a hashtag in a post, your photo or video should then appear on the page for that hashtag. If your account has been shadowbanned, however, it will not appear here. If you use hashtags, check out their topic page to see if your post appears. It may not be a top post, but if you just shared it then it should be under “Recent Posts”.

If you’re trying to grow your instagram account, hashtags are an important tool to help you reach new followers. Not being able to use Instagram hashtags may be what’s hurting your engagement if you’re shadowbanned, as it prevents anyone outside of your followers to find your post through hashtags.

Instagram Won’t Let Me Follow Anyone

If Instagram won’t let you follow any new accounts, you have very likely received the shadowban. Following too many accounts in a certain period of time sends up alerts to Instagram that you may be using services not supported by Instagram’s Terms and Conditions. If Instagram won’t allow you to follow anyone new, you’re account has probably been blocked.

Instagram Blocked Me From Liking

Just like being blocked from following users, you can be blocked from liking posts. If your account is noticeably overactive, then you may be banned from liking any more posts. Think about it – if your account is liking 300 posts an hour, it’s fair to assume that you aren’t pressing the like button yourself. If you can’t seem to like any pictures, or if Instagram sends a notification saying you’re temporarily blocked from that feature, you’ve likely been banned.

Why Did I Get Shadowbanned on Instagram?

If you think that your account has received the shadowban, you’re probably wondering why you’re being punished by Instagram. There are a few reasons that you may have been banned by Instagram, most of them having to do with violating some part of Instagram’s Terms and Conditions or Community Guidelines.

If you’ve done the following, you may have incited an Instagram shadowban.

Buying Fake Followers

Buying fake followers violates Instagram’s Terms and Conditions. Instagram is cracking down on fake followers across the board and removing inauthentic or inactive accounts, so if you purchased these followers they may have flagged your account.

Using Banned Hashtags

Certain hashtags have been banned by Instagram due to users posting inappropriate content or spamming the hashtag. When you view these hashtags on Instagram, you may see that recent posts have been blocked for them.


If you use a banned hashtag, even unknowingly, Instagram may prevent your post from appearing on the pages of the other hashtags you used as well. This could result in a ban on the post including the hashtag, or your whole account. If you’re unsure which hashtags to avoid, check out a full list of banned hashtags here.

You Were Reported

If your account has been reported, especially multiple times, Instagram may block your account. Sometimes, when an account is reported, the entire account is shut down. In some less extreme cases, however, a shadowban is placed on the account.

You should avoid posting inappropriate or offensive content regardless, but be extra wary if you think you may have been reported for something. A shadowban is bad enough, so you certainly don’t want your whole account shut down.

Surpassing Instagram’s Daily or Hourly Limits

If you’re following too many people in an hour or a day, or liking too many pictures in that timeframe, you may get shadowbanned. Instagram places limits on following, liking, and commenting to ensure that your activity is authentic and that you’re creating real connections through their app. The numbers vary, but a general rule of thumb is to not exceed 150-200 likes, 60 comments, or 60 follows/unfollows in an hour.

Shadowban Test

There are a few methods you can try to confirm or deny a shadowban on your account. One method is to see if your post appears on the page of a hashtag you used. You can probably see your post either way, so try asking a friend to unfollow you and see if they can still see your post under that hashtag. If they cannot, it’s probable that Instagram is blocking non-followers from seeing your content, and you’ve been shadowbanned.

You can also use a shadowban analyzer tool like Triberr. Triberr looks at your last 10 posts and assesses if your content is showing up well for other users or not. Triberr’s assessment is based mostly on hashtags, so if you don’t use hashtags this software may not work for you.

How To Remove the Instagram Shadowban  

If you believe your account is shadowbanned, there is still hope. Instagram can remove the ban, so long as your account stops its suspicious behavior that got it banned in the first place. Other accounts that have been shadowbanned and made a comeback recommend these tips:

Report your problems to Instagram: Instagram is often slow to assist users with issues, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Report a problem by going to Settings > Help > Report a Problem.

Don’t buy fake followers: If you’ve bought a bunch of fake followers, don’t do that again. It may also be wise to remove the fake bot accounts, although this is not a confirmed fix.

Remove broken or banned hashtags: If you used a banned hashtag, delete the post or at least remove the hashtag from your caption.

Stay off Instagram for two days: Taking a break from Instagram can help to restore your account. Other users and social media gurus recommend at least a 48 hour hiatus from any activity on the app.

Written by Erin

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