The Instagram Shadowban Putting Users in a Panic

The Instagram Shadowban Putting Users in a Panic

Nicole Shelley

4 May 2017

The Instagram Shadowban has been popping up a lot over the last few months with devastating results for Instagram accounts. For those affected, interactions have been dropping, engagement’s has disappeared and follower growth is all but nullified.

It’s safe to say, users are not impressed.

So what is an Instagram Shadowban?

Simply put, a shadow ban is when an account has restrictions put on them without them being notified or even realising it.

Usually an Instagram shadowban results in a user’s comments and posts only being visible to them but to no one else.

It’s an attempt to control the toxic elements of social media like bots and online trolls which can all have a very negative affect on the success of a social media platform. But when used inefficiently, it can catch legitimate users in its net too.

The Instagram shadowban, however, is a little different. It doesn’t affect your posts’ visibility on your page or your comments on others’ posts. This time it’s all about the hashtags.

If you’ve been shadow banned, your images no longer appear when other users browse hashtags you’ve used.

Here’s a real example – this photographer posted an image of a building with the hashtag ‘#ilovechi’. When he browses the hashtag, he can see his search results (hint, it’s the one circled).


However, when someone else browses the hashtag, this is what they see.


Notice anything missing? That’s right, you can’t find his image.

While it all sounds very inconvenient, but is it really that bad?

If you’re using Instagram as a primary social media marketing tool then being shadow banned can have a significant effect on your ability to reach new audiences. Hashtags are still the most effective method of getting real organic followers of your account and thus, growing your business.

What can I do about being shadow banned?

Instagram does have a report a problem function where you can lodge a request to have your ban looked into, however, it is rare to receive a response. Their reaction to the bans has been lukewarm at best. They’ve even stated publicly that they “don’t have the resources to fix the hashtag…issue.” This has left many users in the lurch.

Taking things into their own hands, some users have claimed to have lifted the ban by either:

  • Using a different device and IP address to log on with
  • Converting their business account to a personal account

Unfortunately, these don’t seem to catch-all fixes and some users have resorted to starting up brand new accounts, risking the years of goodwill, following and presence they have built up on the platform. If Instagram are serious about becoming a social media marketing giant, their issue resolution needs to be faster and more effective.

Let us know if you think your account or brand might be suffering from the Instagram shadow ban. We’d love to hear from you and we’re always happy to help.

Stay tuned for our next article on how we have successfully got two clients out of an Instagram Shadowban.