First things first, what is a shadowban?

The term “Shadowban” has been in existence since 2006 when Twitter used it for the first time but it’s only recently that it’s gone mainstream.. Twitter had announced that they are filtering out abusive tweets on its platform by applying a sort of temporary “time-out” on users who broke their terms of service, but they used to inform their users about it. However, on Instagram, when a shadowban gets implemented, the user is not informed. They hide your Instagram posts from users who don’t follow you, which can be a major obstacle to growing your account and getting more followers, because those who don’t follow you will not be able to see your posts on hashtags and as a result, all your Instagram hashtag and such strategies fail.

On Instagram, a shadowban hides your Instagram posts from users who don’t follow you, which can be detrimental to growing your account and getting more followers. More specifically, if you get shadowbanned on Instagram and use hashtags in your post, only you and your current followers will see your post when they search for the hashtags you used. If someone who doesn’t follow your account searches for one of those hashtags, they won’t be able to see your post! Which basically defeats the whole purpose of using strategic hashtags to grow your Instagram community.

Have you noticed your Instagram engagement dropping, follower count declining, or photos not showing up in hashtags?  You might be a victim of the mysterious Instagram shadowban, and you wouldn’t even know it. Behavior as innocent as using the same hashtag repeatedly could hide all of your Instagram posts from people who aren’t following you. It’s ridiculously unfair. Or at the very least, ridiculously designed. In this post, we’re going to discuss tips and tricks to avoid being a victim of this dreary shadowban.

How to avoid the Instagram shadowban:

1) Don’t use banned or broken hashtags on your post

With over 700 million active monthly users, it’s really difficult for Instagram to completely control what people share and what hashtags they use. A lot of times, a completely innocent hashtag can become invaded with inappropriate content. In situations like these, it’s best avoiding using such those hashtags altogether as soon as you come to know about its malice. When something like this happens and Instagram notices, they’ll either block the hashtag outright, meaning you can’t even search for it on Instagram, or they’ll limit its usage. With the shadowban, however, it appears that even if you use just a single banned hashtag in your post, Instagram will prevent your post from appearing on any of the hashtags you used!

2) Don’t use apps & websites that automate your Instagram

Instagram recently updated its algorithm to be tougher on bots, including bots that auto-like, auto-comment, and bots that grow your followers. If you use any kind of automation or bot-like software on your account, there’s a good chance that Instagram knows this and also you’re going to be shadowbanned. Also, if you use software that automatically posts to Instagram for you, you’re also violating Instagram’s terms of service and could be at risk of not only getting shadowbanned, but getting your entire Instagram account banned.

3) Avoid big surges in your Instagram activity

If you weren’t aware, there actually are limits on how many photos you can like, comments you can leave, and accounts you can follow or unfollow. However, everyone’s limits are different. In any case, try not to exceed 150-200 likes, 60 comments, and 60 follows/unfollows per hour! The reason Instagram imposes limits on user activity is to crack down on bots. If all of a sudden you follow 50 accounts, and then immediately unfollow 25 of them, Instagram might interpret this as “bot activity” and shadowban your account as a result.

4) Learn about the banned hashtags and how to spot them

As Alex Tobby said in her article:

“A hashtag as innocent as #beautyblogger can become overrun with inappropriate content such as nudity, spam or racially insensitive images. When this happens and Instagram takes notice, they either remove the hashtag completely or limit its usage. It seems that when you use one of these hashtags on your photo it can effectively “break” the rest of your hashtags and cause you to not rank for ANY of them.”

Other innocent hashtags to avoid include: #desk, #asia, #like, #date, #brain, #saltwater, #skype and many more.


5)  Avoid being reported by other users:

According to Alex, another way to show up on the dreaded Instagram’s shadowban radar is by getting reported by another user. It’s important to note that getting reported alone isn’t enough for Instagram to take action against your account, they would also have to determine that you actually violated their terms of service. However, if Instagram does determine that you’re at fault, they may fully disable ban account, or they might just shadowban you.


For a lot of Instagram users, hashtags are one of the best ways to grow your engagement and attract new followers. And while Instagram has yet to confirm or deny a shadowban, it’s important to be conscious of how you behave on the platform to avoid being penalized. We’ll continue to be vigil as the Instagram shadowban story unfolds, and advise you to do the same.