Probably you would have heard some rumours about the social media platforms filtering out their users and posts. Probably you would have also noticed a lot of business accounts complaining about a sudden decline in followers or recent engagement drop.
Almost one year ago Instagram announced in an official statement that they are continuously working on improvements of their system and that they are looking into the known issues that Instagram users are experiencing with the hashtag search which caused thousands of posts not being surfaced. A similar statement came from Twitter as well. They announced that they had begun filtering out abusive tweets by applying a temporary “time-out” on users who broke their terms of service.
Well, although Instagram did not admit it then, now it is already widely known that disappearance from the hashtags pages, is not caused due to an unexpected bug in the system, or is not just a strange issue.
It is the new “policy” known as the Instagram Shadowban.
But, what actually is it?
What is Shadowban?
Shadowban can be described as, the act of social media platforms blocking their users without realizing about them being banned. It exists to prevent users from an improper behaviour – spam, abuse, indecency etc.
On Instagram, the shadowban hides posts from the non-followers of the affected account, i.e., if someone gets shadowbanned only them and their current followers would be able to see their posts when they search for the hashtags that have been used by them. If someone who doesn’t follow the affected account looks for one of the used hashtags, they won’t see the posts uploaded by them. Well, this actually counters the whole idea and purpose of using hashtags as a strategy to grow one’s Instagram community.
AM I SHADOWBANNED?
What actually are the reasons for being shadowbanned and how to prevent them?
In the case of Instagram, the platform seems to mostly be targeting the users who display spam-type or inappropriate behaviour. One of the known causes of the shadowban is the reiterable usage of one and the same hashtags over and over again.
Another reason might be the usage of automated services, bots or buying followers. In their terms of services, Instagram has made it clear that it is prohibited to use an automated device, script, bot, spider, crawler or scraper. E.g. automated posting services as well as bot programs for comments, likes or follows.
A sudden growth in the activity might also be a reason. If someone starts following or unfollowing a high number of accounts or post tons of pictures at once, Instagram might block that certain account, taking their actions as a spam.
Usage of broken hashtags. Broken hashtag or banned hashtag is a hashtag that carries an inappropriate content and posts that violate Instagram’s community guidelines. Sometimes really innocent hashtags can become invaded like for example #petite or #attractive. When such behaviour is noticed by Instagram, the hashtag will be either banned, which means it won’t be even searchable, or it’s usage will be limited.
How to recognize a broken hashtag?
It is pretty easy to get to know if one hashtag has been banned. When you search for the hashtag in the recent section you will find a message, which states:
If one uses just a single banned hashtag, the whole post will be affected for every other hashtag in it.
How to prevent getting shadowbanned?
An instant remedy for the shadowban haven’t been found yet and also it has been noticed by a lot of users that it is not permanent and it can be lifted within 2-3 weeks. But there are a few things that can be done in order to lift the shadowban faster:
The first one is, of course, to stop using the banned hashtags. This can instantly return one’s post back visible to everyone.
The second one is to not use bots, followers raisers and auto-posting programs. As we mentioned it above, this is in a counter with the Instagram policy of usage, so if one restricts from applying them it might help.
A lot of affected users suggest switching from a business account to a personal account. They confirm that this helped them lifting the shadowban.
Last but not least, taking a short break from Instagram can help lift the ban. It is best if for 2-3 days the affected users avoid liking, commenting and even logging-in the app.
Well, looked aside at the whole situation with the Shadowban, we cannot get a little bit suspicious. The affected accounts usually are the business accounts which use Instagram as a platform for their digital marketing campaigns in order to promote their brands, products or services. And they succeed in this pretty good. As we mentioned it before, the hashtags are the best way to reach the bigger audience in an instant and to get your content found.
But why do they have to do it for free, using just the well-working hashtags strategy, when they can pay for their marketing. There are a lot of theories, that probably the actual reason of the Instagram shadowban is to “encourage” the pre-paid advertisings on the platform. The shadowban is a great way to force the business accounts to invest in their advertising.
Not really sure, if it works or not.
We came across a website, which can tell you if your Instagram account is shadowbanned or not.
All you have to do is to either “Add your Username” or “media URL”
and you’ll get the results.
Click HERE to view the website.
That’s it on Instagram Shadowban.
We would really appreciate hearing your opinion about it and if there’s anything you would like to add to it.