All you need to know about Instagram shadowban

Elool Jacoby

CPO and Co-Founder at Notch

Instagram tips

In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about shadowban - What is a shadow ban? How to detect if you are shadowbanned? And best practices of how to remove it from your account.

Although Instagram has been revealing more information about how its algorithm works, many users are still experiencing a variety of restrictions. We will organize these restrictions for better understanding.

What is a shadowban?

A shadowban is a term used to describe a situation when your Instagram account is hidden from the platform's community or if some of your account actions are restricted. It means your posts, reels, and stories will not show up in feed, hashtags, or explore page, and your followers may not see your content. It is not a complete ban, as your account will still be active, but your reach and visibility on the platform will be reduced.

What is shadowban? no reach
The secret formula for Shadowban.

The signs of a shadowban

We monitored 636,273 Instagram accounts and analyzed over 12,600 shadow-banned accounts.
Based on our research, if you suspect you have been shadowbanned, there are 3 main metrics to look out for - engagement, exposure, and new followers.

  1. If your engagement has significantly dropped, such as likes, comments, and followers, it may indicate that your account has been shadowbanned.
  2. If your posts are not showing up in the hashtags or explore page, it is another indication of a shadowban.
  3. You get fewer followers than usual because you don’t appear in the Instagram user search (or if you google your account name).
3 signs of shadowban - Less engagement, Less exposure, and fewer new followers
The 3 signs of shadowban - Less engagement, exposure, and fewer new followers.

Is your Instagram account shadow banned? Here’s how to check:

Do you suspect your account is shadowbanned? Here are two ways to check your account:

The official way through Instagram account status

Review your account status and ensure you follow Instagram's community guidelines and terms of service.

  1. Go to your Instagram profile.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Click on Help.
  4. Open the Account Status section.

In this section, you can check if your content meets Instagram's guidelines, learn what to do if your content has been removed, or appeal a decision made by Instagram if you disagree.

How to check your account status for shadowbaning
Check Instagram account status for shadow banned.

The unofficial way through other Instagram accounts

To determine if you've been shadowbanned on Instagram, follow these 3 tests:

1st test “Hashtag visibility”

Post an image with a hashtag that isn't commonly used. (FYI - using a hashtag with millions of associated posts makes it difficult to distinguish between banned content and content hidden due to competition).
After posting, ask three friends who don't follow you to search for the hashtag and check if they see your post/reel.
You've likely been shadowbanned if none of them can see your post in the search results.

2nd test “Account visibility”

Ask three friends who don't follow you to search for your account username in their app. You've probably been shadowbanned if you don’t appear in the first results.

3rd test “Google your account”

We’ve recognized that shadowbanned accounts no longer appear in the google results. Search for your Instagram account handle name/username in google + the word “Instagram” (e.g., “@username Instagram” to check your visibility).

determine if you've been shadowbanned on Instagram
Ask a friend to check for your posts and search your account.

What are the reasons for Instagram shadowbanned accounts?

Shadowbanned can happen for various reasons, including:

The use of banned or spammy hashtags: If you use hashtags that have been banned or are known to be associated with spam, your account may be flagged as spammy.

Engagement groups or buying followers can signal to Instagram that you are trying to artificially boost your engagement, which is against their terms of service.

Posting inappropriate or offensive content can get your account flagged and possibly shadowbanned. Also posting about Regulated and Restricted Goods and Services could harm your account (such as, Firearms, Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco, etc.) make sure to read the guidelines and to limit the content's visibility based on age or location

Using automation, 3rd party apps, or bots to grow your Instagram account is against Instagram's terms of service and can result in a shadowban. In addition, some of these apps use your account for other purposes without your permission and could violate Instagram community guidelines without your consent or knowledge.

Violating community guidelines, such as copyrights, hate speech, or bullying content, can result in a shadowban (also in your comments). Instagram did not say shadowbanning exist, but they did talk about their recommendation guidelines. Which dictates whether your content is recommended to non-followers or isn’t. The recommendation guidelines are much more strict than the community guidelines. Click here to read ‘Instagram recommendation guidelines’ and read EVERYTHING! We guarantee you’ll find things you didn’t know!

Posting too frequently or using repetitive content can trigger Instagram's spam filters and lead to a shadowban.

It's important to note that Instagram's algorithms are complex and constantly changing, so there may be other reasons for a shadowban.

My reach dropped, does it means Instagram shadowbanned me?

Not necessarily. There can be various reasons why your reach on Instagram has dropped, including -

  1. changes in the Instagram algorithm.
  2. Changes in the frequency or quality of your content.
  3. Changes in the time of day or days of the week you post. 
  4. Changes in the hashtags you're using.
  5. Changes in your audience's behavior. 

Being shadowbanned is just one possibility. Check the Head of Instagram, Adam Moseri's (@mosseri) official announcement regarding shadowbanning (you can jump directly to 8:08) -

How To Remove Shadowban On Instagram or how to?

What to do If I’m Shadowbanned? You can take a few steps to unshadowbanned your account:

  1. Stop using bots or automation tools, as they can trigger a shadowban.
  2. Check and remove any 3rd party apps from your account - go to your account settings >> security >> apps and website, and click remove next to the app you wish to remove or not recognized.
  3. Avoid using the same hashtags repeatedly, as Instagram may consider it spammy behavior.
  4. Review your previous posts and delete any that may have violated Instagram's community guidelines (based on your account status).
  5. Report the issue to Instagram and wait for their response.
  6. Take a break from Instagram for a few days, and don't post anything.

Instagram shadow ban checker - is it real?

Many websites and apps claim to detect or test Instagram shadowbans, but they are only partially accurate. The only reliable way to check if you have been shadowbanned is to use the abovementioned method.

Security Tip - If you are not dealing with Instagram directly, there is no legitimate method to eliminate shadowing. Thus, refrain from paying or linking your account with such services.

How To Protect Yourself From Shadowbans?

Shadowbanning means you suddenly see your reach has decreased significantly.

Instagram says there isn’t an ‘on’ or ‘off’ switch. They don’t say much, but they give us a few guidelines. If we want to increase the chances that more people will see our videos, here are 5 simple ways to NOT get Shadowbanned - 

  1. Share original content.
  2. Avoid clickbait.
  3. High-quality sound and pictures.
  4. Don’t violate Instagram’s community guidelines.
  5. Don’t recycle content from other apps or accounts.

We will continue to explore and update this article regarding shadowbans on Instagram. We actively seek new ways to avoid them and gather general information on recovering from one.

Although there is no definitive explanation for what constitutes a shadowban on Instagram, we know that such bans are not uncommon, and hope for recovery exists.

It's worth noting that even if your content is temporarily invisible to others, you can still post and build your audience in the long run.

If you have any experience or questions about Instagram shadowbans, please drop us a DM @getnotch (on Instagram) or email us, and our experts will answer any questions! Stay safe!


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