If you’re involved with social media, you may have already heard about the Instagram shadow ban. I first heard about this through one of the beauty accounts I follow on Instagram. I was curious to say the least, so I did some research of my own. After spending hours Googling, I did a little test to see if I was shadow banned & surprise, surprise – I had been.
What is a Shadow Ban?
I’ll keep this as simple as possible. It’s basically a huge issue with Instagram’s hashtags. If your account has been “shadow banned” by Instagram, your photos will not appear in the hashtag searches for the people who are not following you. However, everything will appear normal to yourself & the ones who do follow you. The reason it’s called a “shadow” ban is because the person who is banned, won’t know it. You don’t get a warning or a notification – you are simply in the dark about it.
This is a huge issue for people who are trying to grow their page, brand or business. If you don’t use hashtags then this probably won’t be an issue for you. However, most people on Instagram are trying to grow their page in some way or another – this almost makes it impossible for new people or brands to find you.
Instagram had posted an official statement on their Facebook page about this issue. They basically said to not rely on hashtags in order to grow your page. In my opinion, hashtags are the only way for new people to discover your page & for you to gain likes & followers.
How to Check If You’re Banned
First, put an unpopular hashtag (one that doesn’t have many posts) on a post you’ve made. Next, you can either make a “fake” (secondary) account, login to your secondary account if you already have one or get a friend to help you. Make sure that your secondary account or friend is not following the “banned” account you’re checking on. Now, search the hashtag you’re using for this test. If you see your photo in the hashtag search, you haven’t been affected by this. However, if you don’t see your photo, you have been, unfortunately.
How To Fix It
As far as I know there’s really no certain way to fix this or get the ban lifted. However, there’s been many “methods” brought to my attention which may or may not help.
- Clear your search history on Instagram.
- Log out & back into your account.
- Don’t use hashtags for a few days.
- Post less frequently.
- Use less hashtags.
- Or, make a new account altogether.
I’ve tried all of these, including making a new “backup” account – which didn’t work because according to some people’s speculations this ban is tied to your IP address. I have started posting less & using only 3-5 hashtags instead of all 30. As of right now, the ban has been lifted on my account. This doesn’t mean I won’t be banned again.
This issue has been incredibly frustrating to say the least. There’s no definite solution, Instagram really doesn’t care & there’s no way of knowing for sure if you’re safe. A lot of the beauty community has been affected by this – both small & big accounts. The only people to blame are the actual fake bot accounts who do the real spamming – they’re the ones who have ruined social media for us legit accounts.
A Few Accounts I Follow That Have Been Affected