Growing a social media following is difficult, especially when your content is suddenly no longer displaying in related hashtags, your online engagement is declining, or your profile is being unfollowed one account at a time. If you're having these or similar problems, it's likely that you, like many others, have been shadowbanned, which involves the partial or complete blocking of a person or their material. When an algorithm on a service like Instagram (which I'll use as an example throughout this piece) flags an account for breaching its community guidelines, it blocks posts or other content from displaying in searches or among hashtags. In recent years, Instagram users have increasingly reported their accounts being labeled as such, although platform administrators frequently fail to notify them.
For Instagram's administrators, shadowbanning makes sense because it allows the app to guarantee that community guidelines and terms-of-use policies are followed without having to deal with the banned user directly. Unfortunately, dissatisfaction comes when a user is forced to figure this out on their own (often slowly) — while an account is rendered virtually invisible to new follow searchers.
A user's account might be flagged for a variety of reasons. The following are a few of the most common:
• Using automated bots to increase your account's or content's number of followers, likes, shares, or favorites.
• Using too many hashtags in a single post.
• Posting content with forbidden or broken hashtags.
• Sharing content that could be interpreted as violent, graphic, or otherwise objectionable.
• Having several other users report your posts or account.
How to avoid shadowbans
In general, if you're a responsible app user and post stuff appropriately, you won't have to worry. However, there are several additional precautions to take in order to avoid being hit:
• Concentrate on naturally increasing your account rather than using automated bot services.
• Only use the 10 to 15 most relevant hashtags on each piece of content.
• Keep your everyday activities to a minimum to avoid the algorithm being accused of spamming you.
Checking your status
The most aggravating feature of receiving a ban is that you will most likely not be aware of it until your account has been suspended. Because Instagram doesn't notify users when their accounts are flagged, you'll have to use your detective skills to figure out when and why.
Two of the more effective strategies are:
1. Enlist the help of others to check an account. Making a new post with a short and basic hashtag that users may search for is one of the easiest and simplest approaches. After you've posted, ask a few people who don't follow your account if the post appears in their hashtag searches. If your work appears, that's fantastic. If you don't, you've most likely been blacklisted.
2. Employ the services of a Shadowban Tester. Because Instagram bans are becoming more regular, companies have created tools to detect if an account has been banned. Services like Triberr and The Heist are free testers that verify the health of an account by analyzing hashtags used on its most recent 10 or so posts to evaluate the possibility that it was hit. They are unaffiliated with Instagram and have not been validated. These tools are only available through a desktop client and not through Instagram's more popular mobile version.
If you know the worst-case scenario has occurred, simply checking status isn't going to help you much moving ahead. You'll need a mechanism to keep track of the prohibition. The excellent thing is that there are a few strategies that can help you enhance your chances.
• Go through all of your posts and remove any banned or broken hashtags, and make sure you don't use them again. It's vital to remember that an offensive hashtag should be removed even if it doesn't appear in your main post, but only in the comments below it.
• Take a break from the service for a few minutes. This update may seem ridiculous, but consider that when a user's account does more than 500 actions each day, Instagram's algorithm flags them automatically. Following more than 13 accounts per hour (or more than 150 per day), like more than 400 posts from accounts you follow per day, leaving more than five accounts per hour (or more than 30 per day), and sending more than 10 direct messages per hour can all be flagged as spam-like behavior. If you take a 48-hour hiatus from posting, the drop will be significant.
• Inform Instagram about your issue
If you still can't figure out why your account was flagged, the next best alternative is to contact the provider directly and advise them of your problem using the methods below:
1. Go to your phone's app store and download the Instagram app.
2. Go to the upper right corner of the screen and select your profile symbol.
3. To enlarge the menu, press the three horizontal lines.
4. Select "Settings," "Help," and "Report A Problem" from the drop-down menu.
Keep in mind that Instagram may take some time to answer.