Shadowban on Instagram Title Media

Much has been made recently about Instagram and the mysterious shadowban. What is it, how do you know when you’re affected and how can you prevent it?

A shadow or stealth ban as we’ve seen it referred to is a ban or restriction on a user’s account which they’re not officially made aware of.

Instagram will simply make the user’s hashtags temporarily undiscoverable, which will mean that only their existing followers will see their posts, essentially reducing their reach and preventing them from growing their audience while the ban is in place. If you notice a sudden drop in engagement, particularly from new accounts, then there’s a chance you’ve fallen foul and this obviously isn’t ideal so we’ve put together our top three tips for avoiding a ban.


1. Don’t use automated services or bots.
Instagram is very clear about the use of automatic schedulers and bots in its terms of service and it will penalise you for this. It’s really easy to track, you could be active on your account under two separate IP addresses in different countries at the same time and it’ll spot it a mile off. Be consistent in your activity too, if you suddenly follow a whole bunch of accounts or mass like a whole load of posts then it will be spotted.

2. Vary your hashtags.
Instagram doesn’t like you to use the same hashtags continuously for months on end so do mix them up and vary them. You may have core tags that apply to your audience but introduce others to the mix. We would recommend saving yourself time by researching and saving a bank of hashtags and then choosing from your list for each post.

3. Avoid banned hashtags.
Instagram monitors the use of hashtags and is clamping down on inappropriate content. Some seemingly innocent hashtags (#dogsofinstagram?!) are banned and need avoiding but this is easy to spot and should you have one post that doesn’t perform, it’s worth checking as removing the banned hashtag should fix this for you. If you click on any hashtag, you’ll see top and recent posts but for a banned or ‘broken’ hashtag you may see just a few top posts with a message to say that recent posts are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.

If you’d like to know more about content strategy or social media you can always hit us an email and ask us about this or anything else on


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