The Shadowban: What You Need To Know And Do To Protect Your Account

— By

Shaun McGrath

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.

What is a 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.


How the shadowban can inadvertently affect you

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.  


How do you know when you’re banned and how do you fix it?

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:

  1. Post a photo or video and include hashtags that you regularly use in the caption.
  2. Use the account that doesn’t follow you to search a hashtag that you used in the caption.
  3. Look at the most recent posts in the hashtag.


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.

How to avoid a shadowban

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:

  1. Make sure you are aware of the community guidelines of the social media platforms you’re using.
  2. Create a unique and secure password for your account to reduce the chances of it becoming hacked by spammers.
  3. Do a quick google search every month of banned hashtags so that you’re aware of what ones to avoid. It is important to note that the list of banned hashtags frequently change and social media platforms don’t make banned hashtags known to the public, making it hard to be completely safe.
  4. Unlink any unapproved third-party apps that monitor follows, look for hashtags, or automate engagement from your account. These can put a red flag on your account. Look for approved partners instead.


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.

December 28, 2022
Social Media
Shaun McGrath
December 28, 2022
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