Shadowban on Instagram: what it is, how to get out, and how to know if you’re in it

The shadowban on Instagram is a punishment that hides the profile posts in the feed and hashtags search, making it more difficult to view the content of the person who flouted the rules. If the numbers of likes and interactions of your Instagram posts drop overnight, you may have been a victim of shadowbanning. Also known as ghosting, the practice is carried out by the social network to punish users who violate the terms of use.

The term shadowban became hot in 2019 after pole dance professionals accused Instagram of hiding posts tagged with hashtags referring to the dance practice. At the time, according to Yahoo, the social network stated that the blocking of pole dance tags occurred by mistake and apologized to the dancers affected by the bug. Understand below what it is, why shadowban happens, how to get out, how to know if you are in it, and how to avoid the penalty.

All about shadowban on Instagram

Techidence has gathered six pieces of information about shadowban on Instagram below. Below, check out the topics that will be covered in this list.

1. What is shadowban on Instagram?

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Shadowbanning is the practice employed by Instagram to punish accounts that violate the platform’s terms of use. The penalty consists of blocking the user’s content from the search tool and the feed of his followers.

It is still possible to check posts from the account by directly accessing the profile, but the distribution of the post does not occur, which decreases its reach. Instagram does not notify the profile of the punishment – often, the suspect account realizes it has been shadowban only after noticing a sharp drop in engagement on the social network.

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2. Why does Instagram practice shadowbanning?

The action of “shadowbanning” is a way for Instagram to control the content that may somehow violate the social network’s policies. The most common cause of shadowban is indexing posts with hashtags that are banned or under review. Even if the content posted does not go against Instagram’s guidelines, the inclusion of the banned tag is enough to alert the social network that the content of that profile is suspicious.

instagram hashtags

Instagram’s banned hashtags refer to topics that are banned from social networks, such as sexually explicit topics, drugs, trafficking, and hate speech, among others. Sometimes the tag itself is not inappropriate, but presents a high level of denunciation at the time of posting. For example, this was the case with the popular #sextou, which was used by foreigners to share pornography last year. In response, Instagram temporarily blocked the hashtag.

Using a massive amount of hashtags can also lead to this blocking – Instagram allows a maximum of 30 tags per post. Buying followers and likes to increase a profile’s popularity and visibility also increases the risk of being shadowbanned on Instagram.

3. Shadowban and pole dance

Pole dance practitioners began to suspect Instagram shadowban in May 2019, according to comments from dancers on Pole Press, a virtual community focused on pole dancers. In light of this, a petition was created on calling for an end to Instagram’s penalty. Critics questioned the social network’s attitude in blocking harmless content, while the platform faces critical problems in containing risky posts about suicide, hate speech, and terrorism.

Pole dance instructor Elizabeth Blanchard posted on her Facebook page a list of hashtags that other dancers should avoid in their posts so as not to be shadowbanned on Instagram. According to Yahoo’s findings, the photo social network apologized for the blocking of hashtags, which was caused by a bug.

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4. Suspected shadowban targets?

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The main suspicion that an account undergoes shadowban is when interactions with posts decrease dramatically for no apparent reason. Receiving fewer comments and likes than usual may be an indication that the posts are not being distributed on social networks.

Since shadowban prevents the post from appearing in search by the tagged hashtags, it is possible to confirm on your own if your profile is under punishment by Instagram. To do this, create a new account (it must not have any links on the platform with the supposedly penalized user) and search for one of the hashtags used by your profile.

If no recent posts of yours come up, your account is likely under shadowban. If your photo does not appear only for certain tags, they may currently be under report. Avoid using them again.

5. How to avoid shadowbanning


The best way to avoid taking shadowbanning is to follow all the policies and terms determined by Instagram. Do not make use of paid or automated services for account growth, as Instagram only supports organic, clean, and free growth.

Before including hashtags in posts, confirm that they are not underreported on the social network. To do this, simply search for the hashtag on Instagram and then scroll to the bottom of the page. If no warning message is displayed, the tag in question is within the social network’s usage policy.

Once your account is under shadowban, remove all hashtags used in your latest photos via the caption editing tool. Usually, the shadowban lasts between 24 hours and a few weeks, once the user starts following all the policies correctly. Instagram favors accounts that are active on the network, so the more active you are correct, the faster your account can get back to normal.

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6. How to get out of shadowban on Instagram?

If your account is in shadowban, some tips can help reverse the situation. Check out some recommendations below:

  • Stop using hashtags for a few days: this will allow Instagram’s algorithm to “forget” your posts that were affected by shadowban. Some experts recommend that you stop using hashtags for at least 48 hours;
  • Remove low-quality hashtags: if you have used hashtags that Instagram considers spam or low-quality, remove them from your posts. This can help reduce the shadowban effect;
  • Review your posts: review your posts for content that may be at odds with Instagram’s usage guidelines. This may include images or captions that contain nudity, violence, hate speech, or other things that violate Instagram’s policies;
  • Stop using automation tools: if you are using automation tools, such as comment bots or automatic followers, stop using them immediately. These tools are often considered spam by Instagram and can contribute to shadowbanning;
  • Contact Instagram support: if you have tried all of the above practices and are still experiencing shadowban, contact Instagram support through their help pages. They can help clarify any issues that may be affecting your account and potentially resolve the shadowban. Learn how to contact Instagram.

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