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The What, How and Why of Instagram Shadowbanning

Let’s talk shadowbanning… But first… Did you know some hashtags can be banned or blocked by Instagram?

They vary from explicit hashtags that I won’t mention to innocent hashtags like “desk.”

There are currently 114,000 banned Instagram hashtags.

Here’s what you need to know…

  1. Some hashtags might be banned forever.
  2. Some hashtags might be banned temporarily.
  3. If you want to use a “new” hashtag, check if it’s banned before you use it.
  4. Using one banned hashtag could cause all your other hashtags to no longer work.
  5. Using banned Instagram hashtags could shadowban, block or penalize your account.

If you’re new to the social media marketing world, I know this is overwhelming. But hopefully, this will answer all your questions!

Here is a master list of the shadowbanned hashtags as of January 15th, 2018. You can view it HERE.

But WHAT is Shadowbanning?

This is when your posts will not be visible anyone not already following your account. Instagram will hide your posts so using hashtags won’t work at all anymore and your account growth will come to a screeching halt!

How to check if you’ve been shadowbanned, why and how to fix it!

To check to see if you’ve been shadowbanned, you should find 3-5 users who don’t follow you and ask them if your photo is showing up with the hashtag you used. It’s best to use a hashtag that doesn’t get millions of uploads on it every day, so use a smaller tag. If they don’t see your photo, your account may have been shadowbanned!

So why did your account get banned? There are a few possible options.

  1. You’re using “bots” or software that violate Instagram’s terms and conditions.
  2. You’re abusing Instagram’s daily and hourly limits. Yes, Instagram has limits. Generally, you should not be following/unfollowing 60 accounts, go over 60 comments and 150 likes per hour.
  3. You’re abusing and/or overusing hashtags. You’re limited to 30 hashtags per comment. It is not recommended that you use more than that per post. Instagram can also tell when you’re using the same hashtags every time – so try to mix them up if possible.

Here are 6 steps to follow to fix your account if you’ve been shadowbanned.

  1. Stop using Autobots to grow your following.

    Yes, it’s time-consuming to interact and engage manually, but it’s more authentic and people can tell when you’re using bots. It’s better to take the time to do this yourself. If you’re using a program to automate comments, make sure you remove the access.

  2. Remove broken or abused hashtags from your set & delete them from old posts.

    Look at the hashtags you’ve been using in your posts and make sure they’re not limited by Instagram. You can do this by checking your old posts and either the hashtag will be removed completely or there will be a notice that the tag has been hidden due to abuse. If you find a hashtag that’s been broken, make sure to go back through your old posts and remove them by editing the caption or deleting any comments with the hashtag.

  3. Take a break for 48 hours then engage manually and abide by Instagram’s limits.

    After you complete steps one and two, log out of your account and take a break for 2 days. It’s a perfect excuse to not use social media and just relax. Don’t engage, like, comment – just log out completely for 48 hours. When you log back in make sure you start engaging manually; you don’t want to end up shadowbanned again. Plus, this is a way better way to build real relationships with any potential customers or clients.

  4. Avoid any “growth hacks” and abide by all community guidelines.

    There are quite a few “growth hacks” out there that you can easily search – but just don’t use them. You’ve already gone through the process of being out of your account for 2 days, you don’t want to go through it all again. Follow Instagram’s rules and guidelines and you won’t have any problems.

  5. Report the problem to Instagram.

    Instagram doesn’t make it easy to contact them, but it’s still worth a shot. Just go to your profile, settings and scroll down to “Report a Problem” and then select “Something Isn’t Working”.




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