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How to Know If You Are Shadowbanned on Instagram

Do you want to know if you are shadowbanned on Instagram?

If you have recently discovered a sudden, huge drop in your Instagram reach or engagement, then you might just be shadowbanned.

Many Instagram users face this issue and it’s very frustrating.

You could be having a massive amount of engagement on one day, and little engagement in another.

Thus, your engagement rate may fluctuate from extreme highs to lows.

In this article, I’m going to explain what the shadowban is, how to know if you are shadowbanned on Instagram and how to fix it.

Table of Contents

1. How does Instagram algorithm work?

2. What is a shadowban?

3. How to know if you are shadowbanned on Instagram?

4. Why am I shadowbanned?

5. How do I fix the shadowban?

6. Preventing the shadowban

7. Conclusion

How does Instagram algorithm work?

Before I get into the details of a shadowban, you’ll need to have a rough idea of how the Instagram algorithm works.

In the past, Instagram used to display posts chronologically on your feed. Currently, Instagram only displays posts chronologically if you’ve liked every single post on your feed.

Here’s more detail on how the algorithm works.

When you post something, Instagram will first show your post to your most ‘loyal’ followers (people who are most likely going to engage).

And if they do engage, it sends a signal to Instagram that your content is of quality.

Thus, your post will start ranking higher on the feed of the rest of your followers and the process repeats.

The algorithm works this way because Instagram wants to ensure that the piece of content you just put out is engaging and high in quality.

That way, Instagram knows that people are going to like your content and rank it higher which retains users in the app.

The algorithm is also part of Instagram’s solution to counter spam.

If you spam or post a poor piece of content, people are less likely to engage. With this in mind, Instagram can easily detect that the content is not of quality and drop your post further down someone’s feed.

What is a shadowban?

The Instagram shadowban is a ban that hides your posts from showing on the hashtag list. In other words, this conceals your content from new people.

The shadowban can also cause your username to drop beneath the search list when someone tries to find you on Instagram. This usually happens if you’ve either violated one of Instagram’s guidelines or someone has reported you.

However, your followers can still see your most recent posts on their feed.

How to know if you are shadowbanned on Instagram?

Firstly, your reach will drop massively (e.g. from a reach of 10,000 to 100).

If your reach drops from 10,000 to 8,000 or 7,000, then that’s not a shadowban. It just means that you’ve posted a below-average content.

Here are some steps you can take to know/check your shadowban status:

1. Post something and use multiple hashtags.

Firstly, post something on your main account and add a few hashtags in your caption/comments. Make sure to use an uncommon hashtag (e.g. #test123) so your post can be easily accessible in the recent section later on.

If you use a common hashtag like #love, your post will be overcrowded with other posts and it will be harder for you to find it in the recent section.

2. Create an alternate account.

The next thing you want to do is to create an alternate account if you haven’t already.

Make sure that the alternate account isn’t following your main account that you’ve just posted on.

Otherwise, you won’t be able to check if you’re shadowbanned.

3. Use the alternate account, search for one hashtag that you’ve used and check if the post is on the ‘recent’ section.

Lastly, use the alternate account to search for the hashtag that you’ve used on your most recent post (from your main account).

Then, navigate to the ‘recent’ section of the hashtag and check whether the post is on there.

If the post is in the ‘recent’ section, then your account is not shadowbanned.

However, if the post is not in the ‘recent’ section, then your account is shadowbanned.

4. Search for your username using an alternate account

Another way you can check your shadowban status is by searching for your username on Instagram using an alternate account.

Firstly, search for your username using an alternate account. Make sure the account is not following your main.

Then, check if your main account is at the top of the search results.

If your main account is not at the top of the search results when you typed the exact username, then it is shadowbanned.

Why am I shadowbanned?

The shadowban can occur due to multiple reasons.

Here are all the known reasons.

1. You used one or more banned hashtags

If you’ve used a banned hashtag, Instagram may shadowban your account.

Certain hashtags are banned because most of its content violates Instagram’s guidelines.

This means that people utilizing these hashtags are usually posting inappropriate content.

So if you’ve used a banned hashtag on your post, Instagram will mark your post as ‘spam’ and your account may be shadowbanned.

To check if a hashtag is banned, simply search for the hashtag on Instagram.

If the hashtag is banned, you’ll see this message:

“Recent posts from # are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines”.

Do not use the hashtag if you see this message.

2. You used too many hashtags

How many is too many hashtags?

Typically, the maximum number of hashtags you should include in a single post is 30 hashtags.

Any more than that and Instagram might shadowban your account.

3. Someone has reported your post/story

If your stories/posts received one or more reports and it is deemed to violate Instagram’s guidelines, then you may be shadowbanned.

To prevent being reported, make sure you follow Instagram’s guidelines.

Do not post something that violates Instagram’s guidelines or Instagram may shadowban you.

If your posts/stories get reported too many times, your account is at risk of being deleted.

How do I fix the shadowban?

So now that you’re aware of what the shadowban is, how do you fix it?

Here are a couple of ways you can try to fix the shadowban.

1. Wait it out

This is the most boring solution to fix the shadowban, but the most guaranteed one.

So how long does the shadowban last?

The shadowban can last for a few days to a maximum of two weeks.

So your best bet is to wait for the shadowban to be lifted naturally.

2. Promote your Instagram post

The next method you can try is to pay a few dollars to promote one of your posts on Instagram.

If you pay Instagram for ads, even if it’s just a couple of dollars, then it’s within their best interest to look after their paying customers.

After which, your shadowban might be lifted.

However, it might still take a few days for it to be completely lifted.

Preventing the shadowban

Here a a few ways to prevent the shadowban.

1. Don’t use the same hashtags

If you’ve been using the same hashtags for multiple posts in a row, you should switch them up.

Instagram may shadowban you because it seems like spam if you use the same hashtags repeatedly.

Instead of using the same hashtags over and over again, try using different ones (smaller and targeted ones).

The main reason for the shadow ban is always a punishment for breaking the community guidelines.

2. Don’t use banned hashtags

Now this is simple.

Do not utilize banned hashtags in any of your posts or your account will be marked as spam.

Instead, use hashtags that are relevant to what you’re posting.

3. Stop using third-party apps/tools

The next step is to remove any third-party apps/tools that are not certified by Instagram.

Bots/automation violate the Instagram’s Terms of Service as they allow you to carry out faster actions (e.g. likes, comments).

To remove any existing or pre-existing third-party apps/tools, simply change your Instagram password and you’ll be logged out from all of them.


The best way to prevent the shadowban is to not violate Instagram’s guidelines.

Make sure to spend a few minutes of your time reading the Instagram TOU (Terms of Use) and guidelines to ensure that your content complies with it.

To summarize, the shadowban is a sharp drop in reach and engagement.

If your reach and engagement have small fluctuations, then you’re most likely not shadowbanned. It’s either ‘seasonality’ or your content is just poor compared to others.

P.S. If you liked this article, feel free to join our follow for follow community for Instagram: https://www.followchain.org — it’s free!

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Author: Lim How Wei. Lim How Wei is the founder of Followchain, a community that simplifies growth and networking for Instagram users. Feel free to follow him on Instagram.

About the author

Lim How Wei

Lim How Wei is the founder of followchain.org, with 8+ years of experience in Social Media Marketing and 4+ years of experience as an active investor in stocks and cryptocurrencies. He has researched, tested, and written thousands of articles ranging from social media platforms to messaging apps.

Lim has been quoted and referenced by major publications and media companies like WikiHow, Fast Company, HuffPost, Vice, New York Post, The Conversation, and many others. One of his articles about the gig economy was quoted by Joe Rogan who hosts The Joe Rogan Experience (arguably the most popular podcast in the world), in the This Past Weekend podcast by Theo Von.

In his free time, Lim plays multiple games like Genshin Impact, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, RuneScape, and many others. He creates guides, walkthroughs, solutions, and more on games that he plays to help other players with their progression.