What is an Instagram Shadow Ban?

What is an Instagram Shadow Ban?

You might have heard about the Instagram shadow ban lately because it has become a popular topic but what does it mean?

Shadow bans were first introduced on Reddit where moderators got the power to silence users that didn’t contribute to the site in a constructive way. Basically, the idea behind a shadow ban was to silence spam accounts such as trolls, bots and people starting fights.

A user that gets a shadow ban isn’t notified about it, therefore the name shadow ban. Everything looks as usual but on Reddit, users that get the shadow ban don’t reach anybody with their posts. The only way you can understand that you have gotten the shadow ban is that you get zero replies, no up votes or down votes.

Shadow bans don’t only exist on Instagram

Apart from Reddit, that is considered to be first with this feature, shadow bans have now been used by major platforms such as Facebook and Twitter where the principle is almost the same, meaning that your posts reach very few people or only people following you.

What is an Instagram Shadow Ban?

There’s a problem..

The problem with shadow bans is that they can affect innocent people too. Sure,  shadow bans work effectively to reduce spam on platforms when used correctly but if given to innocent people, it can destroy their page.

What does the Instagram shadow ban mean?

Now, as you might have been able to guess from the title of this post, it seems like shadow bans have been introduced on Instagram as well but because they haven’t come out with any information regarding it, the information about it is very limited.

We don’t yet know if the shadow ban on Instagram is made by Instagram’s very own anti-bot algorithm or if it’s made by Instagram admin detecting spam-like behavior on the platform.

From what we know so far, the Instagram shadow ban is limiting the reach of pages. The ban restricts your reach to only your followers meaning that you have a very hard time growing your page because the only users that you can reach is the already existing ones.

Hashtags don’t seem to do the trick either because with the shadow ban, Instagram hides your posts from the hashtag section, limiting your reach.

Because hashtags is an essential part of a page’s growth, it can be quite frustrating for people looking to grow their page.

The BIG issue

With the shadow ban, it seems like the only people seeing your post in the hashtags are the ones that are following you and the whole idea with hashtags is to reach a bigger audience and hopefully get some new likes and followers but if you have gotten a shadow ban, hashtags have shown to be completely useless. For people relying on further growth on Instagram to grow their business and increase sales, this sort of ban can have catastrophic consequences.

What is an Instagram Shadow Ban?

How to find out if you are shadow banned?

You can use this website to see if you have been shadowbanned.

Type in your Instagram account and the URL of one of your posts(where you have used hashtags) and it will tell you if your post is shadow banned or not. Try it on a few of your posts and draw a conclusion after that.

What can you do if you’ve been shadow banned on Instagram?

Because Instagram haven’t released any information about their shadow ban, they haven’t released any information on what you can do once you’ve gotten it.

For some users who have been receiving shadow bans, hashtags might be the problem. If you are using the same hashtags over and over again for months, Instagram may think you are being a little spammy. Try and change up with fresh hashtags and use fewer of them.

Another reason you have been shadowbanned can be that you all of a sudden went on a follow, unfollow, like or even commented a whole bunch of posts at once. This can seem like an automated process, try and act more like a regular Instagram user.

What you can do if you have gotten it is to contact Instagram and ask them. If this doesn’t work, you can change account. now, if you’ve (like me) spent countless of hours building your page, this can be extremely sad to hear but as of now, it might be the only solution if you’re looking to gain new followers because with the shadow ban, it is basically impossible.

If you’d like to create a new account, you should consider creating it with a different email address and phone number since we don’t know if the ban is connected to a particular email address or phone number. It might even be connected to your personal device so it might be a good idea to create your new account with another device.

The last thing you can do is to slow down with uploading on Instagram for 24 to 48 hours and hope that the shadow ban disappears sooner or later.


There have been numerous reports about Instagram using shadow ban against accounts violating their rules but as mentioned, it isn’t confirmed by Instagram. Your reach is completely locked meaning the only people who will see your posts are already existing followers.

The shadow ban can cause a lot of trouble and completely ruin Instagram pages.

Have you gotten shadow banned? Tell us about it in the comments below!


  • I got shadow banned in March, it took me about 2 weeks to realise what was happening as there is very limited information out there at present and Instagram are keeping very quiet.

    Mine happened after a hack, which many others are revealing too. The hack being that my email and password got changed, once I got back into my account Instagram saw me as a spam-bot.

    I think the hack has greatly affected Instagram’s algorithm and they don’t yet know how to fix it, hence why they are being so quiet. The only statement they have made is for us ‘to be patient whilst they try and resolve’.

    I believe some people are trying to sue due to loss of earnings.

    More sites/ news need to pick up on this to light a fire under Instagram to get them moving faster.

    There is a lot of conflicting information out there’ stop posting for a while’, ‘carry on posting as usual’, ‘contact Instagram daily’, ‘only contact them once’.

    Personally I’ve reduced my posts, mostly because I don’t want to spend time marketing with minimal or no return. Hopefully Instagram will fix this soon.

    • Mr. J

      Dear Sarah,
      Sorry to hear that you have been affected by a shadow ban. It’s definitely very frustrating, especially when you don’t know what to do about it due to the (very) limited information from Instagram.

      I guess we have to wait and see what Instagram says about it and if they will give us some more information in the future.

      It sounds like you have decided on a strategy. Wasting time on posting pictures that have a very limited reach doesn’t seem like a very good option.

      Let’s hope Instagram will solve this issue for you and all the other people that have been affected by this.

      Thank you for visiting VeloceInternational, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter:)

      Mr. J

  • Simone

    I run a business Instagram page, that I have been posting for months in gaining momentum.

    About two weeks ago it just hit a dead end. I’ve used the same hashtags for months getting new followers every day, and about 40-70 likes immediately. Now when I post I get a max of like 4 likes.

    I knew something happened and believe this is what happened. I need help getting out of this dead end.

    • Mr. J

      Hi Simone,
      Sorry to hear about the shadow ban it sounds like you have been affected by.
      Some believe that using the same hashtags over a longer period of time can trigger a shadow ban. If you have spam-liked a larger amount of photos over a long period of time, it might have affected the ban as well.

      Because the information from Instagram is very limited, its hard to give you a concrete answer but try skipping the hashtags for a while and like/follow/comment less. Some people have experienced an easy of the shadow ban in this way and it might help you as well.

      Wishing you good luck!

      Thank you for visiting VeloceInternational.


  • I have the same problem as Simone. I am glad i found out what it is, as I have been trying every possible suggestion I could find on the interne. For me this is a little disaster as I am a start up. Thank you for explaining this phenomenon. I tend to leave my instagram account alone for a while.

    • Jens Wirdenius

      Glad to help, Jo!
      I did find some of my accounts shadowbanned a while back, but now, things are looking like they’re clearing up.
      Hope the same for you!

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