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If your Instagram engagement and growth suddenly drop one day, don’t panic. It’s probably not your fault. More likely, it’s the infamous Shadowban.
It is a term that refers to how social media platforms strategically hide or restrict the visibility of content without letting users or their followers know.
There is a lot of content on social media. Just taking a look at Instagram - 100 million people post to their stories every single day and 95 million photos and videos are uploaded daily. Hiring humans to skim through all this content to ensure everything meets the guidelines is an impossible task. So, they rely on the help of artificial intelligence to look for and flag inappropriate content, spam, and banned hashtags (hashtags associated with spam or inappropriate content).
Kicksta compiled a complete list of banned hashtags in 2021. You’ll be surprised to see that common place hashtags have made the list, like #beautyblogger, #singlelife, and #newyearsday because spam accounts abused these specific hashtags, thus triggering them as problematic. Since artificial intelligence fails to understand context, it is prone to making mistakes. This is how innocent accounts like yours can become collateral damage to the shadowban.
There are paid services out there that claim to check for you, but there is no way to know for sure, so it is best to avoid these. The most common and effective ways to see if your account has been shadowbanned is by looking to see if there has been a sudden drop in engagement.
Secondly, you can run a test with an account that does not follow you. To do this:
If yours doesn’t show up, that is a sign that your account has been shadowbanned. If your account has been shadowbanned, the only way you can try to fix the situation is by contacting the customer support team of the social media platform. This can be a long and strenuous process, but the good news is that restrictions are for a limited time only. The length depends on the severity of your offense.
If you choose not to go the customer support route, you just have to wait it out.
The best solution is to be proactive instead of reactive. Here are some preventative measures you can take to make sure you don’t get shadowbanned:
Managing your social media account can be a lot of work and you wouldn’t want to jeopardize all your efforts by getting shadowbanned. But if you take the right precautions, you’ll have nothing to worry about.