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Instagram Shadowban: What Is It and How to Avoid It?

Instagram has been taking a lot of heat lately for a bug in their hashtag system. Shadowbanning is causing users to go up in arms, and we know why. Here is an explanation of what shadowbanning is, why Instagram users are so upset over it, what Instagram has to say about the bug, how to avoid getting shadowbanned, and what to do if you do get shadowbanned.

#1 What is it?

Shadowbanning is when a person's account basically gets "banned" without them knowing it. Their page appears normal to them and even to their followers, but their posts are no longer visible on the Instagram hashtag pages. Basically, their hashtags "don't work."

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#2 Why are Instagram users SO UPSET?

Some Instagram users that have been affected by the shadowban have seen their engagement drop by up to two-thirds! Most accounts depend on the hashtag pages and their functions to get attention from non-followers. Without that, their posts are limited to only the people that already follow them, and that can be devastating to a business using Instagram to drive profits or gain attention.

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#3 What does Instagram have to say about it?

Basically-- Nothing. Instagram told their users not to be so dependent on hashtags. Hashtags, in the past, have been the main tool for getting found and reaching non-followers, but now that there is a complicated bug in the system, Instagram insists that business owners should focus more on having "distinct visual presence" being "a story teller" and putting "thought into your creative."

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#4 How can I avoid the shadowban?

  1. Do not use bots or automated apps/websites
    • This means apps that like, comment, follow, or post automatically
    • Instagram easily detects when posts are being generated by a bot
    • Instagram has a strict policy against using these types of tools, and recently shut down one of the most popular ones, Instagress.
    • Put simply, Instagram wants the posts to be generated by YOU.
  2. Check the apps you are using and see if they are appropriate and Instagram approved
    • How do you know if they are appropriate and Instagram approved? You should be able to answer "yes" to both of these questions:
    • Does the login page ask you to login to your Instagram account?
    • Does the URL include "instagram.com"?
    • The app has to follow Instagram's Terms and Conditions
  3. Everything should be posted by you.
    • Do you have to physically post, like, and comment? Your Instagram should do nothing automatically.
  4. Be mindful of your hashtags.
    • Some seemingly innocent hashtags have been banned or blocked by Instagram because of inappropriate content that was associated with it in the past, so by using those hashtags you could be drawing negative attention to your account or the hashtags simply won't show up on hashtag pages.
    • Leave your hashtags in the captions, not the comments.
  5. Don't look like spam.
    • Avoid posting more than three times a day.
    • Avoid editing captions.
    • Do not go on mass following or commenting sprees.

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