What is Instagram Shadowban and How to Avoid?

Shadowban has been around long before Instagram. However, it got popularized by Twitter in 2006, as a way to ban “toxic” behaviour. Shadowbans on Instagram come as, indeed shadows, and we can’t really be sure if we are shadowbanned until we manually test this. The Shadowban on Instagram hides your banned post from people that are not following, thus neglecting the usage of hashtags, and limit your potential growth.

It is important to distinguish that on Instagram, posts get shadowbanned, rather than the user. If a certain post of yours contains “toxic” behavior, the shadowban will be contained on that post only.

Why your posts are Getting Shadowbanned?

Shadowbans do not happen randomly. Instagram’s algorithm is a fine tool that spots “toxic” behavior. In the Instagram world, toxic behavior means utilizing hashtags that are inappropriate, promoting violence and are against Instagram’s Terms of Service. Unpopular opinion out there is that shadowban is caused by growth-hacking tools, but this is not true. Instagram detects hashtags like (#follow4follow), which is obviously against their ToS, and they only show the top posts, and are hiding the most recent ones. In addition they may display a message that a hashtag was shadowbanned due to not meeting Instagram’s Community Guidelines.

How to Find Out If Your Post is Shadowbanned?

There are two ways to find out if you are shadowbanned:

  • Automatically – You can use the website here to check out if you are shadowbanned.
  • Manually – However, a more demanding, but more reliable way to see if you are shadowbanned is by a manual check. Just create a new post, use 2-3 unpopular hashtags in the caption and in the first comment, and use an account that is not following the account you are checking. If you can’t see the post, that post is shadowbanned.

3 Easy Ways to Avoid Shadowban on Instagram

The whole idea behind shadowbans is to limit Instagram’s Toxic behavior. So, the easiest way to not be shadowbanned is to not be toxic. In the Instagram world not being toxic means:

Do not utilize banned and broken hashtags – This one is the main reason you get shadowbanned in the first place. There are hundreds of lists of hashtags that can be found online with hashtags that are broken and/or shadowbanned. In a recent updates there are more than 60k banned hashtags. Checkout the hashtags, and avoid using them. If some of your older posts are not performing as intended, check to see if there are any banned hashtags in the caption or the first comments.

Do not use the same hashtag sets for months – Instagram detects your activity, and if you use the same hashtag sets for your captions and first comments, chances are you are going to get shadowbanned. However, the time frame is different for everyone, so you might get away with posting the same sets of hashtags for longer, but avoid it altogether.

Do not be spammy – You might not be using banned or broken hashtags, but if your account looks “spammy” to Instagram’s algorithm you might get shadowbanned. You should always do your captions before posting, do not edit the captions every time right after posting. Don’t become a simple bot, Instagram will see a spike in your activity when you go on a like/comment/follow spree and you will look like a bot to it.

Ultimately, using Instagram cleanly will not get you shadowbanned. Do not be toxic. Instagram, introduced the shadowban to prevent photos and posts that are against the ToS to go viral within minutes. So take a note of your hashtags, see which hashtags are restricted and do not use them. Stay safe and ever growing, thank you for reading.


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