How #ShadowBanning Could Prevent You From Being Seen

Social media has become an essential tool in growing companies through advertising, marketing, and reaching out to new consumers. With Facebook’s recent purchase of Instagram, many businesses started voicing concerns about what this would do for their content, how it would affect their growth, and what it would actually change.

Instagram implemented a tool called shadowbanning which aims to reduce the impact of bot accounts. These accounts would hashtag inappropriate photos or spam tweets. The result is that the shadowban algorithmically determines that certain hashtags should be hidden from the tag’s feed and will not show up to the general public.

Sounds great! What’s the issue?

The problem arises when an honest account becomes shadowbanned. The reason for the “shadow” in the name is that the user is unaware this has occurred.  This means that without your knowledge, your company’s social media presence on Instagram becomes SEVERELY impaired in terms of its ability to reach new prospects and thus hurts your potential business!

Here are some key things to watch for if you’re suspicious about being shadowbanned:

-Hidden Hashtag

If you have been shadowbanned, the best way to check is clicking the actual hashtag and seeing if your post shows up in the feed. This may seem tedious, so here’s a way to save time. This will inform you why you might have been shadowbanned, so you can prevent it in the future.

-Engagement Drop

If you typically gain over 1,000 likes on a photo posted months ago, but now struggle to get 500 likes without hashtags, you might be a victim. This is actually the most prominent issue, as many bloggers, indie shops, and big named brands have mentioned how this has affected their business. 

-Follower Count

If your account constantly gains new followers on a daily basis but currently struggles to get them, you might be a victim. For small accounts, it’s hard to tell, as growing has become a hassle this past year. However, if you have a big following and have been at the same number for months, your account might have been flagged with a shadowban.


Instagram has acknowledged the issue, but no resolutions have been implemented as of yet. If you are trying to prevent this, make sure you don’t spam users, keep your “Like” count down, and make sure you don’t use broken hashtags to avoid having your account flagged for a shadowban.