BLOG Has Instagram “Shadow Blocked” You? What You Can Do To Remove The Ban!

Published: Jul 27, 2017 5 min read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Source: Caspian Services

Have you noticed your Instagram engagement used to be much higher and has recently declined? Maybe you are in a few Facebook social media/business groups and have heard some comments regarding an “Instagram shadow block”, but you are unsure what this means? Well, we are here to give you a little insight and clarification – and hopefully you will be able to figure out if you have been the target of a shadow block and we will give you tips to getting the ban lifted!


As you may have noticed, Instagram (as well as its parent company, Facebook) has implemented many changes in the past 1-2 years, especially regarding their algorithms and business vs. personal accounts.

The Instagram shadow ban has been noted as a ban on your photos particular hashtags. This means that while you are using certain hashtags to promote your post, Instagram is not allowing them to be seen under that particular hashtag’s search results. It’s believed that a shadow ban is a way for Instagram to crack down on influencer marketing and force business accounts to invest in paid advertising. Since hashtags are used to make your post “discoverable” by others, it would make sense that IG may want to make it a little harder so that they can get business’ to spend on ads.

As a business on social media, this affects you because you are missing out on getting discovered by hundreds if not thousands of potential followers who can turn into customers/clients via hashtags alone. In short – you become invisible to people who don’t already follow you.


Please keep in mind that an engagement dip does not always mean you have been shadow banned, it may be another Instagram issue or glitch. However, it is a good idea to try to find out if you have been, so that you can lift the ban! (Also keep in mind that Instagram has not yet admitted to placing shadow bans, so simply asking them will actually not be of any help)

In order to find out if you may have been shadow banned, we suggest trying the following: Find 3 or 4 accounts who aren’t following you already (maybe a coworker – or have a few friends unfollow the account in question and test this out for you) and ask them to check for your images in the hashtags in question.

*Keep in mind: If a hashtag is highly popular and has views in the millions, chances are you will not easily find your image in the search – as these hashtags move quickly. Pick a few hashtags that have less posts and therefore the search moves a little slower.

If each person/account  (who searches the lesser-used hashtags) does not find your image in the hashtag search – you may have been shadow banned!

If your images are found by these accounts, then you are likely not banned and therefore your dip in engagement may be for another reason or there may be an actual Instagram glitch (which does happen!)


Remember – Instagram is not technically admitting they are shadow banning accounts however hundreds (if not more) accounts who have experienced it, have come together in many chat rooms and figured it out for us. This means that they have also been able to pinpoint a few of the reasons we get banned and therefore what to do and not do if you in fact are banned (and of course, it’s great advice so that you do not get banned!) The conclusion has been that Instagram is banning accounts they feel are too “spammy” and overusing hashtags and marketing. Why? Because they would prefer you pay to play (pay for ads).

If you are shadow banned please make sure you are not doing the following (and if you are, stop now)

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