Instagram Shadowban: How to Test & Avoid It?

Instagram Shadowban

Have you noticed a reduced to zero engagement on your Instagram posts? Read on to learn about Instagram shadowban and how to remove it from your account.

If you feel like you’re being shadowbanned, you probably aren’t. Don’t worry. Shadowbanning is a very real thing, however, it doesn’t happen as often as people think. The Instagram shadowban is when the social media site prevents your photos from showing up in the search results. This means that your followers can still see your photos and videos, but no one else can.

The shadowban is a big deal because it affects the growth of your account. Your posts are no longer showing up in the hashtag results, which makes it harder to grow your audience. If you're doing influencer marketing as a business, then this will also affect your ability to get sponsored posts.

What is Instagram Shadowban?

A shadowban is when an account will still appear to work normally for the person who owns it, but its posts and comments won't be visible to other users. In other instances, the content in the account might be available only for the followers but restricted from the search feed.

How does Shadowban Affect Your Engagement?

How does Shadowban Affect Your Engagement

Shadowbanning on Instagram affects your engagement because without being able to be seen by the public, people will not be able to discover you through searching for specific hashtags. And this can also happen even if you follow all the policies imposed by Instagram, which makes it even more challenging and frustrating for brands, businesses, and influencers.

So whoever will want to check out your content may need to visit your profile directly. This is quite limiting because, if it were a prospective customer who's interested in a product you are marketing, they may not know your exact profile page unless through the hashtags. As a result, it will not only be a market loss, but it will also cost you a genuine engagement that would have spread more word about your products.

If your engagement levels have suddenly dropped for no apparent reason, you may think that you need to change your content strategy or start paying for targeted ads. It could take a while before you realize that your posts aren’t appearing in any relevant hashtags or searches. This will cost you a lot of time and money.

So, the more followers you have, the less likely they are to see all of your posts if you are shadowbanned. Instagram’s algorithm may choose not to show some of your posts at all because they believe that the content is irrelevant to your followers (even if it’s not). This means that even though people have chosen to follow you for a reason and want to see what you have to offer, they may never see it.

About Borderline Content on Instagram

Borderline content is content that does not violate Instagram's Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, but may not be appropriate for everyone. While some people may be comfortable with this type of content, others might not be. That's why Instagram gives people the choice to hide it so that not all people have to see it if they don’t want to.

So Instagram removes borderline content from Explore and hashtag pages to ensure that the broader Instagram community does not see it. However, it's not that easy to tell the limit when it comes to borderline content.

You can, however, base on the following:

The content posted on Instagram is not allowed to be in the following context:

  • Content that is violent, that promotes or encourages violence, or that threatens or harasses others.
  • Content that is hateful, offensive, or promotes racism, bigotry, sexism, or other forms of intolerance.
  • Content that is graphic or gory.
  • Content that glorifies self-injury.
  • Content that bullies intimidates or harasses others.
  • Content that includes unapproved drugs and drug-related paraphernalia.

Therefore, despite how hard it is to tell whether Instagram has shadowbanned you, you can almost tell it from a drop in engagement. This, however,does not mean every time there is a drop, you've been shadowbanned.

How to Check If You've Been Shadowbanned on Instagram?

How to Check if You've Been Shadowbanned on Instagram

If you're seeing a dramatic drop in Instagram engagement or no engagement at all, there's a chance that you've been shadowbanned.

However, you can only prove this, after confirming it. Here's how to check for a shadowban on your Instagram:

  • Check Your Hashtags

If you believe that you have been shadowbanned, try searching for a hashtag you have used on one of your posts and see if your post appears in the top posts. If all of your hashtags have been banned, you'll know right away because they won't produce any results when clicked.

  • Test Your Posts using a follower

Another method to check if you have been banned from Instagram is to post something on your account and ask your friends to look for it. If they can't find it using the hashtags that you've used in your post, then you're definitely looking at an Instagram ban.

  • Check the insights of your posts

Are people viewing and engaging with your posts as much as they did before? The best way to find out is with Instagram Insights, which will give you detailed analytics about how many people have viewed each of your posts every day since it was published.

Why are You Shadowbanned on Instagram?

Why are You Shadowbanned on Instagram

If you’re an active Instagram user, whether, for business or pleasure, you should be aware of the latest Instagram changes and how they might affect your account. A shadowban, for instance, is most dreaded because of zero notification from Instagram.

Here are some of the most common reasons for a shadowban by Instagram.

  • You use the same hashtags too often.
  • You use broken or banned hashtags.
  • Your content looks spammy (i.e. too many emojis, too many hashtags).
  • You've used automation tools to grow your account and have been reported by other users.
  • You've surpassed Instagram's daily activity limit.
  • You've been shadowbanned previously for violating Instagram's rules. It can be easier for your account to be targeted again in the future.

How to Remove the Instagram Shadowban?

Remove the Instagram Shadowban

The cause of the Instagram Shadowban has been speculated to be an algorithm change by Instagram or a manual flagging due to violations of community guidelines or terms of use (such as spamming).

Here's what to do, to lift the ban:

  • Take out any broken hashtags

Instagram sometimes bans hashtags, which usually happens because of inappropriate usage. If you're using a banned hashtag, it won't show up under the hashtag search but will be visible to people who know the specific hashtag.

To fix this, simply remove the banned hashtag from your posts. If you're unsure whether a hashtag is banned, search for it in Instagram's search bar. If nothing appears, it's more than likely that it's been banned.

  • Take a break

If you're using Instagram automation tools and believe that they may have caused your account to be shadowbanned, taking a break might help.

These tools can often cause an increase in activity on your account and if you've posted too many pictures or used too many hashtags in a short period of time, Instagram may have assumed that your account was spammy and blocked it from being seen by other users.

  • Contact Instagram's Customer Support

If none of these solutions works for you, you can always report a problem to Instagram directly. The platform might not reply quickly, but at least there will be proof that you reached out if you need to dispute the ban in the future.

How to Avoid Instagram Shadowban?

How to Avoid Instagram Shadowban

Instagram does not officially acknowledge shadowbanning and we can only go by what people have experienced. The following sets of things should keep you in line off a shadowban.

  • Avoid using banned hashtags
  • Do not overstuff hashtags on a single post. It is best to limit your hashtags to at most 4 or 5 hashtags per post.
  • Maintain clean and organic growth without dependence on Instagram automation tools.
  • Engage with your followers in real-time without using generic comments. Instagram may assume such as being a bot's activity.
  • Read and stick to the account's Terms of Service.
  • Avoid buying followers. Instagram may notice a huge following with a zero engagement rate.
  • Disassociate from any bots you may have previously used and delete them from your account.
  • Take a break for a few days, then resume posting at a more reasonable pace.


According to research conducted by Instagrammers Hub, there's no clear pattern as far as who gets shadowbanned. They also noted that some accounts may be affected more than others. The best solution to avoiding this is as stated above to stay clear of any violations of the Terms of services.