Skip to content

Instagram Shadowban Keeps People from Seeing Your Posts

Instagram Shadowban Keeps People from Seeing Your Posts

There have been rumors for a while now that Instagram was taking action to limit the reach of popular posts. Accounts that regularly garnered thousands of likes on a typical post found that those numbers dramatically dropped off; further research revealed that impacted posts could not be found by searching the hashtags used.

Obviously, this is problematic if you’re using Instagram to promote your business. Digital marketing professionals have been working behind the scenes to find out exactly what’s going on. Kaitlyn Pierce pursued the inquiry through Facebook’s customer service channels, and here’s what we’ve learned:

There is an Instagram Shadowban

The diminished reach of Instagram images isn’t something you’re imagining. Instead, the Shadowban is what Facebook describes as “Intentional Functionality”. A highly individualized algorithm is being used to determine which posts will appear in hashtag searches and which ones won’t. Not being included in hashtag searches has an immediate and dramatic impact on how many people will see your posts.

Shadowbans Appear to Have a Limited Duration

Shadowbans appear to be triggered when a user attempts to game the system by using bots, automation tools, or buying followers. Additional shadowban triggers include sudden surges in account activity and using the same hashtags repeatedly. Defining what counts as a surge in account activity is difficult, as some users have experienced a shadowban after posting one to two posts more than their established norm, while other accounts post multiple times a day without triggering a ban. The issue may be one of deviation from established posting patterns, rather than a particular ideal number of posts. Shadowban appear to have a limited duration: logging out of your account for 2-3 days appears to reset the algorithm.

Hashtags Can Be Concerning

There is a widespread belief that any post tagged with a hashtag will appear in a search for that hashtag. While this may be true on some social media platforms, that’s not true on Instagram. Repeatedly using the same hashtags over an extended duration may trigger a shadowban.

[Tweet “Instagram is taking action to limit the reach of popular post.”]

Instagram polices hashtags to make sure the platform remains safe for work. There are always users who try to push the line on what’s acceptable. To do this, they co-opt otherwise innocent hashtags for nefarious purposes. This means you could post using a hashtag that makes legitimate sense based on the content (for example, ‘petite’ to refer to a fashion or style) and experience a shadowban due to other users’ behavior. To determine if the hashtag you’re using is problematic, run a search on it: Instagram sometimes notifies users that a hashtag has been limited due to abuse, but in some instances, a total absence of posts will be your only clue something is wrong.

What To Do If You’ve Been Shadowbanned

Unfortunately, Instagram has been reluctant to discuss shadowbanning. The only guidance they’ve issued is what one would expect: do good creative work and focus on storytelling. Marketing professionals have found that logging out of accounts and taking pauses of 2-3 days and investigating the viability of hashtags can help restore post reach, but work needs to be done to confirm the accuracy of these impressions. We’d love to hear about your experiences as we gather more data: have you been shadowbanned? What did you do to get your posts back in the spotlight? Working together, we’ll figure out what Instagram’s parameters are.

Share This:

Book FREE Trial

We know that getting back into fitness is tough! Let us help you achieve your weight boxing workouts.

Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office