Instagram Shadow ban is one of the worst things that can ever happen to a business /personal account online. It literally limits an account’s growth level, engagement rates and overall reach.
The first time I was shadow banned, I freaked out.. I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t even know it had a name, I just knew my post wasn’t showing on hashtags and that was bad, I had to fix that. Like every normal internet savvy person would do, I went to search on Google and the rest they say is history
For the sake of those that might not know what a shadow ban is, a shadow ban also called ghost banning is the act of blocking a user or their content from an online community. Most times, the said user isn’t aware of this ban.
Once you’re banned, your contents are only visible to people who follow you unlike before when every member of the Instagram community can access your page via hashtags. This means that your likes and comments won’t match up to what it was before and this is bad for business.
CAUSES OF SHADOW BAN
- USE OF AUTOMATED SOFTWARE /BOTS AND UNAUTHORIZED THIRD-PARTY APPLICATIONS
Automated softwares/bots are used to grow accounts even when the user is not online. They’re used to get more likes, follows or even comments. Once Instagram suspects you of using such, they place you on a ban.
The use of unauthorized third party apps can get you banned (these includes apps you use to check who unfollows or doesn’t follow back, auto posting apps and analytics checking apps).
Don’t forget that once they’re unauthorized by Instagram, they’d pose a great danger to you and your account.
- BROKEN HASHTAGS
Broken hashtags are hashtags that has restricted usage. It could be words as simple as #wcw . When a hashtag becomes overrun with inappropriate content, it becomes broken so, be sure to check out that next hashtag you want to use before it leads you into a shadow ban.
Broken hashtags are easy to spot out. A hashtag is broken when there’s a limited number of visible posts and no recent tabs on the tag.
To find out if a tag is broken, go to search, type a certain tag you want to use, click on recent ( if pictures are displayed, it’s safe to use. Check the pictures below to see a pictorial example of what a broken tag looks like)
When your account is often reported either for spamming, intellectual theft, copyright infringement or even for posting inappropriate content , it could lead to a shadow ban.
- SUDDEN SURGE IN ACTIVITY
If you suddenly go on a follow and unfollow spree or even like too much too soon, Instagram might classify you as a bot and this can lead to shadow ban.
HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE SHADOW BANNED
- YOUR PICTURES DON’T APPEAR ON HASHTAGS ANYMORE
This is the easiest way to check if you’re shadow banned. Use a not so popular hashtag on a post, search for your post on that tag.. If it doesn’t appear anywhere on it especially on the recent tab, you’ve been shadow banned.
- DRASTIC REDUCTION IN LIKES AND COMMENTS
This method is not completely reliable because a lot of things can lead to loss/reduction in engagements ranging from bad PR, Change of content or even ignored online guidelines.
Whatever the case may be, once you notice a drastic reduction in your engagement rates, try out the first step given above.
HOW TO FIX IT
- DISCOVER THE SOURCE
Discovering the source /reason for the ban is the first step to coming out of it. This will help you take the necessary steps needed. This means that you’d need to
- Delete the recent hashtags on your last post (if the cause was a broken hashtag)
- Delete the post that led to the ban (it could be that you used someone’s picture without giving them the credit or you used a song without accrediting the owner on your post. It could be even be that you posted a picture or video that violates Instagram community rules.)
- Stop using third party apps for automated likes, follows and comments.
- Revoke access granted to third party apps that aren’t approved by Instagram.
- STAY AWAY
Log out of the affected account and stay away completely for some days. Research shows that staying away for 72 hours and more is an effective solution for shadow banned accounts.
- REPORT A PROBLEM
Continuously report a problem to Instagram (this is because you’d rarely get a response from them.) In doing this continuously, you might get the attention you need.
- SWITCH BACK TO PERSONAL ACCOUNT
This is if your account is a business page . Shadow bans are common amongst business pages hence the advice.
P. S— I know people who logged out without switching to a personal profile and still had their shadow ban lifted. To be on the safe side though, it’s advisable to switch your account. You can always switch back to a business page after the ban has been lifted.
- ADHERE TO INSTAGRAM’S COMMUNITY RULES
Reread their terms and conditions if need be because once your account has been banned, there’s a higher chance of being banned in the future at the slightest provocation.
Finally, it’s important to note that shadow bans vary from page to page. It could last from 48 hours to a month or more, depending on the steps you take during the ban. The good news is, if you adhere to the steps given above, your account will be back to normal in no distant time.
I hope you found this helpful.
Have you ever been shadow banned? How did you fix it?