Instagram has become a tricky platform to accelerate on in 2020 and there has been a longstanding rumour that Instagram is shadow banning accounts without their consent. A shadow ban is when Instagram buries an accounts posts so it only shows to a very small percent of their followers and no longer appears on the discover page under any circumstances. Often you’ll see Instagram influencers complaining that they have been shadow banned due to a sharp decrease in their engagement but is Instagram really shadow banning accounts? We will answer this question and give some helpful tips on how to reverse a shadow ban.

instagram shadowban

What is an Instagram shadowban?

To be clear, Instagram denies that shadow bans exist on their platform but if you’re a social media manager or an influencer, you will be aware that this phenomenon feels very real. Often users engagement will drop off sharply and despite their regular efforts, they cannot achieve the high engagement their account had previously. Usually this happens after you trigger something negative on Instagram’s algorithm and they deem your content unsuitable for viewing. We can only assume that this is to bury content that is finding loopholes to not directly violate Instagram’s terms of service. For example, if you started posting things that reference sex or pornography but you aren’t posting explicit content, you might find yourself shadow banned. This is obviously an extreme example, since adult content is clearly a violation of Instagrams TOS, so anyone who finds a loophole will most likely face a shadow ban.

How to reverse a shadow ban

The first step to reversing or removing an Instagram shadow ban is to pinpoint the moment your engagement dropped. If you have a business account, look at your insights and see where the drop off occured. If you have a personal account, check your likes and comments and find the post with significantly less engagement compared to the post before it.

Now that you have found the post that caused the shadow ban, look at the hashtags or anything that might trigger the algorithm. This list is things we suspect causes an Instagram shadow ban:

  1. Explicit Hashtags
  2. Alluding To Violence (even the gun emoji counts 🔫)
  3. Too Many Hashtags (use 6 or less)
  4. Automation (did you use a bot?)
  5. Did You Buy Engagement (NEVER pay for likes or followers!)

If you have done of the five things we listed above that would cause an Instagram shadow ban, we have a few tips on how to resolve it.

  1. Do not use the same hashtags, start mixing it up and keep them “Instagram friendly”.
  2. Avoid aggressive posts and start commenting positive things on your followers posts.
  3. Lower your hashtag count or don’t use hash tags at all.
  4. This may be hard to reverse, but stop automation for some time.
  5. You’re doomed. Start a new account and try again.

These were a few tips on how to reverse an Instagram shadow ban. We hope it helps fix your Instagram account and have your engagement return to it’s former glory.