How I got shadow banned on Instagram. Photo by Mika Elgendi, Cairoconfident.com

Got shadow banned on Instagram? Why does it happen and how to fix it?

I believe many people don't know that Instagram has certain rules, all users should follow. I have already read several posts on how to stay on the safe side, so imagine that shock, when me, who always plays according the rules, got shadow banned!

It's a very frustrating situation for several reasons. There is not an official statement by Instagram, saying anything like: "these are our 10 rules and if you break them, the consequences will be A, B C.... ". Second, pretty annoying thing is, that there is not a customer service to call. You can report the problem in your app settings, to which you get automated response informing you, that only random messages will be answered, but your feedback is helpful to detect the technical issues in the area. That's it. Why did it happen and how long will it last stays a mystery.

How do I know I got shadow banned?

All these shadow ban discussions began among the bloggers couple of years ago, when they started to notice that certain behaviors lead to restricted functionality of their accounts. You don't get notified. You figure it out by yourself, because your usual engagement will suddenly drop down dramatically. It is because shadow banned accounts do not appear in hashtag search and explore page anymore. That means, you cannot reach new people and grow your audience. Your new posts are visible only for accounts, that already follow you. If you have your account set to private, it's logical, you don't even notice something like that. It would not make any difference in your engagement. But for a person, who has a business or personal account and uses IG to reach out to new people in order to promote his work, blog, online shop, doing sponsored partnerships, you name it, it's a catastrophe.

What are those rules ?

As I said already, there was not a specific list of rules. There are many suggestions by reputable bloggers and Instagramers all over the world and after doing my search, I would mention these following ones:

1. Using banned hashtags

I don't even want to know what kind of nasty words just popped up in your mind right now haha. Yes, banned hashtags are words that can lead to spammy or pornographic content, but you might be surprised by how many very common and unexpected words are banned. Don't expect me to give you a list of them, there are thousands. What I'll show you though, is how to find them !

Screenshot of a hashtag banned by Instagram. Photo by Mika Elgendi, Cairoconfident.com

First option is to type the hashtag into a search. I chose "beauty blogger" cause I know it's a banned tag. It might seem everything is ok at first, pictures are showing, nothing unusual. Then tap on "recent" and there you go. "content might not meet Instagram's community guidelines" A.K.A. it's banned.

Second, go to www.bannedhashtags.com and paste them in. You will get an instant report.

 

Third, if you are already shadowbanned and need to find out which hashtag had put you in trouble, got to Tribber's Instagram Shadowban Tester and perform analyses of your last 10 posts.

Screenshot of Tribber's Instagram shadowban tester . Photo by Mika Elgendi, Cairoconfident.com

2. Using the same hashtags

Although it has never been confirmed officially, using the same hashtags for all your posts can be picked up on as a spamming. You should mix it up a little by using a various hashtags groups for your posts. I'm using an app called Preview, where I'm able to save several hashtags groups and have them ready, whenever I'm publishing a new post. I rotate them every time.

3. Using Bots

I'm not sure how these work exactly, as I have never tried it myself. Long story short, there is a software that follows and unfollows people for you, engages in comments and liking of posts and it's automated. That explains why someone comments on the picture of your deadly ill dog: "stunning!" and similar kind of gems. Don't use them, cause they will find out sooner or later. IG is trying to remove all these fake, spammy accounts and interactions. If you are serious about building a community around your work, you already engage with your followers by yourself anyway, I believe :)

4. Using a software, that doesn't comply with Instagram's terms of use

There are apps, that allow you to schedule your posts in advance, in case you have a business account (for example Iconosquare, Later,  Buffer.. ) They are approved by Instagram and comply with its terms of service. Better avoid apps which don't follow Business API ( Application Programming Interface).

5. Somebody reported you

If somebody reports your posts, according to policy, Instagram should review your account to make sure the content on your page meets the terms of use and it's not just somebody unfairly reporting your account. You never know, there are all kind of people on this earth. I have personally heard stories, when people got reported unfairly by their biggest competitors.

How can you fix it?

At the moment, when I was writing this article for you, I was shadowbanned. It would be a kind of hypocrisy to lecture here about what to do. I would, again, share what I have heard from others who experienced it.

1. Delete banned hashtags

Well obviously, it's better to clean up a little. Btw, did I mention that all it takes is one faulty hashtag and you are hidden from all the hashtags you have ever used ?

2. Don't use third party apps.

Like bots and automations.

3. Keep low profile

Some say, it helps to stay away from Instagram completely for 2-3 days .

4. Report the issue

You can find the "report button" in your IG settings section.

5. Switch to business account

Applies if you are business or you are doing promotional work. Otherwise use personal account.

 

Well, hope this helped you, or at least encouraged you to look into this topic a little bit deeper. Have any more tips how to fix the issue? Please comment below. Stay out of trouble and TTYL.

Made with love by Mika Elgendi. Please ask for permissin to copy my photos. Thank you