Has Your Instagram Account been Shadowbanned?

Recently, I was contacted by several business owners asking if my Instagram account had been shadowbanned? And my response was, “Shadow-what? Oh god…what now?”  If your response was anything like mine, no worries because I’m going to break it down and ensure that you know what it is, what you can change, and how you can beat the shadowban!

So first of…

What is the Instagram Shadowban?

The shadowban makes your account invisible and impedes your ability to reach new people with hashtags.  What this means is that your images no longer appear in #hashtags you’ve used.  Your followers are able to see them but others won’t.  So for example, let’s say you’re using the hashtag #adulting, if YOU or YOUR FOLLOWERS click on the hashtag, your images will appear in that hashtag.  But to anyone who does not follow your account, you will not appear within that hashtag.

Here are my two theories regarding Shadowbans*

  1. It’s Instagram’s way of filtering out accounts that aren’t complying with its terms
  2. Instagram is protecting its advertising channels

Ever since Facebook bought Instagram, they have been focusing on monetizing the platform.  What Facebook has noticed (as the parent company) is that a lot of people are making a lot of money using but with no financial profit for Instagram. For example, if a celebrity is promoting a certain gummy bear, the gummy bear company has paid the celebrity to promote this product, resulting in sales.  As a result, both the celebrity and the gummy bear company has been “paid” all using this platform, but Instagram has not been paid.  So in this case, Instagram may want to level the playing field.


Has your Instagram account been shadowbanned?  

If you’ve seen a significant drop in your engagement, it does not guarantee that your account has been

shadowbanned, but it’s something you may want to consider.  Here’s a test you could do to check:

– Log out of your IG account

– Go to your account (not logged in) and click on different hashtags and  see if you appear within those hashtags. If you don’t appear, there’s a good chance you’ve been shadowbanned.

Now, you may be asking, Why is your Instagram Account Shadowbanned? Again, there may be several reasons, but here are just a couple…

  1. You may be using a broken or abused hashtag

A reason that a hashtag may be broken or abused is that it contains inappropriate content.  In this case, I want you to either remove # completely or limit its use. One bad hashtag can ruin all your hashtags.  If you’re using 30 #s (the limit on Instagram) and you’re using one banned or deleted by Instagram, it could make the rest of your hashtags inactive.  If this is the case, you need to:

check your hashtags one by one by going into the search icon and searching each  hashtag.  If you do this and click  on the hashtag and see that there are no “top posts”, that means that that hashtag has either been highly limited or shadow banned completely.  

search a hashtag and Instagram says  this hashtag has been banned…then you know, that hashtag has got to go.

change up your hashtags on a regular basis so they don’t appear to be automated. Yes, Instagram IS paying attention!!


  1. Influencer marketers have changed the game.
    Because of this, shadowbans seem to be affecting business accounts in more frequency than personal accounts.  In this case, switching from a business account back to a personal account would seem like an obvious fix (…but I personally think Instagram is much smarter than that, and that your account has already been denoted as a business account.)


  1. You account is being reported.
    If your account is being reported for spamming, infringing copyright, etc., your account could be shadowbanned.
  1. You are using a third party software.

–  Don’t use bots to artificially grow your following

You can invest in bots that will leave generic comments from your account on your behalf.  Instagram is coming down hard on this and if your account is suspected of having bots, it will be  shadowbanned.

–  Don’t use grow services

There are companies that advertise “organic growth” but what they do is just create bots to grow your following.  In other cases, people will use 30 #s in the caption and 30 additional #s in the comment creating 60 #s total.  Instagram is noticing and will shadowban these accounts.

–  Don’t use software that posts images for you

There are services where you can load up all of you images and it will automatically posts all your images for you.  However, Instagram does not like that.  There are other services  like Planoly where you can plan your posts.  The difference is that with Planoly, you can plan out your posts, but it does not post for you. Rather, it sends you a push notification reminding you to post…and since it is not automated, it will not affect you regarding shadowbanning.

How can you undo the shadowban?

  1. Stop using Bots + Automation [IMMEDIATELY]

The thing that I’ve been saying since I began teaching about and finding out who I am on Instagram, is that that your business will go farther with less followers who are actively engaged, who are leaving comments, and are liking your posts. Not all Instagram followers are created equal.  We don’t want 10k followers just for the sake of having 10k followers…we want a group of highly engaged followers because that will rank us higher in the algorithm. You don’t need more followers, you just need the right ones who will engage.  You don’t need the bots, you just need to show up, do the work, connect with your audience, create content, and continually create conversations.

  1. Delete broken/abused hastags

We talked about how you can test for which hashtags are broken or abused, and I want you to go in a clean those up so you are only using hashtags that have been approved.

  1. Lay low for 48 -72 hours

What this does is it indicates a reset where you are going to come back and start anew. I think this is a great idea!! Make sure you’ve deleted the bots, unsubscribed, and deleted your API information from any third party bot so your account is clean.  Take a break, and then come back and manually build your audience. If you think you are being followed by bots, I want you to go through and unfollow and block those bots so that you can really get in front of the eyes that matter!  I want you to be seen by those people who like you and want to engage with you!


A big shoutout to my sources in researching for this post:

quora.com … reddit.com … piercesocial.com … fstoppers.com … alextooby.com … plannthat.com

*I am not affiliated with Facebook or Instagram and these opinions are my own derived from various sources that I’ve read.