How I Beat the Instagram Shadowban

I’ve had a few people contact me recently asking how I managed to have my Instagram shadowban lifted. Originally, I had decided not to write a blog post about this due to the already overwhelming misinformation on the web regarding Instagram shadowban.  I didn’t want to add my voice to an already confusing subject.  However, as more and more people have contacted me I decided to write this post.

What is the Instagram Shadowban?

Firstly, Instagram has never acknowledged or said that they are shadow banning accounts.  However, some people have noticed that their posts are not showing up under hashtag searches.  What this means is that only people who already follow their account will see their posts and the posts have no ability to be either a ‘top 9 post’ nor to be found on an explore page of non-followers.

How to Check if You’re Shadowbanned?

Log into or ask someone who doesn’t follow your Instagram account to see if your posts are showing up under hashtags.  If no posts at all are visible you’ve been shadowbanned.

There currently is a website checker- but reports seem to indicate that this is inaccurate.

Shadownban Vs Banned Hashtags

I have seen some people who find that one or two of their posts are not showing up under hashtags searches, but others posts are.  This happens when you have used a banned hashtag. I’ve written a blog post about that here.

To clarify - A shadowban effects all your posts. If some posts are still visible under hashtag searches you have used a banned hashtag on the missing post.  Check my earlier blog to learn what to do when this happens.

How I got the Instagram Shadow Ban Lifted.

I’m going to be completely transparent here.  I do not know how my shadowban was lifted.   Anyone who tells you they know how to avoid or have a shadowban lifted is guessing. Until Instagram acknowledges a shadowban and addresses it, any tips people post are only guesses, mine included.

The three steps I took top remove my shadowban:

1.     Reported the issue to Instagram every second day

2.     Removed all third party apps (which for me was a scheduler and Crowdfire)

3.     Contacted Facebook ad support via ads account help page (There is an online chat during US business hours)

I’m sorry to tell you that there was there was no miracle fix. After 14 days my ban was lifted. I don’t know what of the above steps worked but I suspect it was lodging the issue through my Facebook ad account.

The biggest take away I had from this experience was that the Facebook Ads manager seemed as perplexed as I was.  I was even asked to confirm that I hadn’t set my account to private by accident.  During my two week shadowban I contacted Facebook help four times and each person I spoke with seemed as confused as me.  For this reason, I do wonder if the shadowban is really just a bug and not a deliberate ban. 

If your account has been affected I really feel for you.  It is SO frustrating.  I kept plugging away and managed to continue to grow my account during my shadowban, albeit at a slower rate.

My other take away was the realisation that we have no power over social media and if you’re running a business it’s so important to start building mailing lists and develop a relationship directly with your followers outside of social media.

For those of you who have been shadowbanned please share what helped you have the band lifted in the comments. 

You might be interested in our blog post What is an Instagram pod and should I be in one?