INSTAGRAM (for free!)

attract followers, increase your engagement
and make more sales!

Are You The Victim of an Instagram Shadowban?? Here’s Why & How to Remove it From Your Account!

If you’ve landed on this blog post it’s likely you’ve heard the words “Instagram Shadowban” whispered around Facebook groups and Instagram pods.. This term picked up steam extremely quickly, and while I’m not normally one to jump on the bandwagon (when buzz words go viral like this it’s usually just rumors..) the Instagram Shadowban has some legs and certainly seems to be affecting hundreds of Instagram accounts. I put together this blog post to address everyone’s concerns and give you a plan of action to avoid, or remove any possibility of being shadow banned by Instagram! So if you’re worried about the current state of your account and believe you may have been shadow banned.. keep reading!

Are you a victim of an Instagram Shadowban?? Hundreds of Instagram users are experincing a massive decrease in engagement due to being shadow banned by Instagram. In this post Instagram expert, Alex Tooby breaks down what a shadowban is, why you got one on your Instagram account and how to get rid of it! Must read!

What is an Instagram Shadowban? (& common misconceptions)

Before we get into the nitty gritty of an Instagram Shadowban, keep in mind that Instagram has been implementing a variety of new algorithms since June 2016 and as a result plenty of accounts have seen a drastic decrease in engagement of up to 50% or more! That means, if your engagement isn’t as good as it once was, that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve been hit with an Instagram Shadowban. Additionally, Instagram has stated the following:

instagram shadowban

This clearly states there is a “hashtag glitch” happening, so please consider that as well. (This could also be Instagram’s way of hushing the crowd without admitting they’ve implemented a Shadowban system.. )

Now that we’ve addressed alternative options.. An official Shadowban is (what I believe to be) Instagram’s attempt at filtering out accounts that aren’t complying with their terms. The Shadowban renders your account practically invisible and inhibits your ability to reach new people. More specifically, your images will no longer appear in the hashtags you’ve used which can result in a huge hit on your engagement. Your photos are reported to still be seen by your current followers, but to anyone else, they don’t exist. That means if you have a small or relatively new account, building a following is going to be significantly harder than ever before..

How do I know if I’ve been shadow banned?

To confirm wether or not you’ve been shadow banned, find 3-5 users that do not follow you and ask them to check if your image is appearing within the hashtags you used on that post (keep in mind if you used a tag with 1 million posts associated with it, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to find your image anyway. Instead, check a small hashtag that isn’t updated too regularly).

If all of the people who checked for you do NOT see your image at all, your account may have been shadow banned (don’t worry, we can fix this!) If some of the people still see your image then you most likely have not been shadow banned and are just experiencing a dip in engagement (click here for solutionsor are seeing the results of the “hashtag glitch” mentioned above. 

Confirmed! I've been shadow banned on Instagram.. Click To Tweet

Why did my account get shadow banned?

Instagram has shied away from this topic and have not explicitly stated what causes a shadow ban or that these bans even exist, but in my professional opinion, shadowbans are based on your actions. The more “spammy” they are, the more likely you are to be banned. Here’s a few things you could be doing that could cause an Instagram Shadowban:

  1. You’re using software that violates Instagram’s Terms of Service. This includes bots that “grow” your following for you such as Instagress, Followliker and Mass Planner. Or “Instagram growth services” that claim to do the leg work for you like Boostly, Social Envy and Socially Rich (these companies just plug your information into bots like Instagress for an inflated price!) Additionally if you are using software that posts images for you (not to be confused with apps that send a push notification to your phone when it’s time to post) you are violating Instagram’s Terms of Service. Some of these schedulers include: Grum, Onlypult and Schedugram. Lastly, if you have multiple accounts and you’re using automation on one of them, it could potentially affect your other accounts because they share an IP address.
  2. You’re abusing Instagram’s daily and hourly limits. Yes, there are limits to how many actions you can take per day on Instagram. This includes the amount of photos you like, the amount of comments you leave and how many people you follow or unfollow. Depending on the age of your account, your limits may be different but in most cases you shouldn’t exceed 150 likes, 60 comments and 60 follows/unfollows per hour.Instagram Shadowban - Instagram follow/unfollow limits
  3. You’re using a broken or abused hashtag. With millions of users on Instagram, it’s hard to control what everyone shares and how they categorize their content. Sometimes a hashtag as innocent as #beautyblogger can become overrun with inappropriate content such as nudity, spam or racially insensitive images. When this happens and Instagram takes notice, they either remove the hashtag completely or limit it’s usage. It seems that when you use one of these hashtags on your photo it can effectively “break” the rest of your hashtags and cause you to not rank for ANY of them.
  4. Your account is continually being reported. Reporting accounts is the quickest way to get Instagram’s attention and warn them of an account that is violating the terms of service or the community guidelines (spamming, infringing copyright, posting inappropriate content, etc). If this happens to your account, Instagram may fully disable it, or they may just throw you in the shadowban club.
Instagram shadowbans are highly dependent on your actions. Here's 5 things you should never do: Click To Tweet

How can I get my account back to normal?

  1. Stop using all forms of automation and revoke access from your API. This is a simple one: STOP USING AUTOBOTS TO GROW YOUR FOLLOWING. Listen, I get it, I get the appeal, it saves time, it’s easy to implement, you see results pretty quickly, but let’s be real, this is not an authentic way to build a business. When you leave automated comments on your potential clients feeds, they can tell. When you follow and unfollow the same person 5 times in 4 days, they notice, and those types of actions reflect really poorly on your brand or businesses reputation. Remember it’s always better to have 100 followers who truly love and support what you do, than 10,000 followers who are using autobots to like your posts and never ever click through to your website or purchase your products & services. Once you’ve deleted and logged out of any and all automation services, you need to check and see if any of them are still attached to your Instagram account. Do this by logging into instagram.com via desktop. Navigate to your feed by clicking the man icon in the top right, then click ‘Edit Your Profile’. From here click ‘Authorized Applications’ on the left and check for anything suspicious, or anything you don’t recognize. (Instagress and the like don’t properly use Instagram’s API so they probably wont show up here, but you might see other random sites you logged into in the past or apps you downloaded). For anything you don’t recognize or aren’t certain are safe to use, revoke their access by clicking the big blue “Revoke Access” button. Instagram shadowban - revoke access to apps
  2. Remove broken or abused hashtags from your set & delete them from old posts. Go through all of the hashtags you use, one by one and make sure that none of them are limited by Instagram. If they have been limited you will either see nothing at all (the entire tag has been removed), or you’ll see just one page of images followed by a notice that states the tag has been hidden due to abuse. If you find any tags that fall into this category remove them from your hashtag set and make note of not using them in the future. If you don’t have a set of tags you use consistently, you’ll have to double check all of your tags before adding them to new posts. Lastly, if you did find you were using a broken hashtag, go back through your old posts and remove the hashtag from those posts by either editing your caption and deleting the tag, or deleting the comment that contains your hashtags.
    instagram shadowban - broken hashtags
  3. Take a break for 48 hours then engage manually and abide by Instagram’s limits. Complete the steps above, then take a two day break from posting, engaging or even logging in. Some users have reported this break gives your account some time to reset. After two days (or however long you choose to take a break – hey we all deserve one sometimes!) you can begin engaging with your audience again. But remember, it must be manual! Yes it will take more time and effort but manually engaging with people on Instagram is your best bet to staying clear of an Instagram Shadowban and it will also help you build relationships with your audience and potential customers. If you want to learn the best, safe and effective methods to quickly gaining a targeted following on Instagram without the use of automation, check out my course, Infamous to Influential.instagram shadowban solution - infamous to influential
  4. Avoid any “growth hacks” and abide by all community guidelines. This isn’t the time to be taking advantage of loopholes or breaking rules. For example, there is a “growth hack” going around that suggests adding 30 hashtags to a comment, then editing your caption and adding an additional 30 there. This leaves you with 60 tags when normally you’re only allowed to use 30. Yes, this does appear to work (however the reported uptick in engagement isn’t that much) but like I said, this isn’t a time to be sneaking around behind Instagram’s back. If you follow the rules set out by Instagram you really have no reason to be shadowbanned. As for the community guidelines, you can refer to them here.
  5. Report the problem to Instagram. Instagram and Facebook are notoriously hard to get in contact with but reporting your problem is worth a shot. You can do this from inside your Instagram app – just go to your profile, select the cog icon in the top right and scroll down until you see “report a problem”. Click that, then select “something isn’t working” and type a short message about what you’re experiencing. I recommend saying that your posts aren’t being categorized in the hashtags you used (not that your engagement has dropped; that’s not really a concern for them). Feel free to repeat this process multiple times a day. Don’t hold out hope that Instagram will ever reply, but hey, everything helps!instagram shadowban - report to instagram
  6. Switch back from a Business Account to a Personal Account. Alright, this one is a bit of a shot in the dark, but realistically, I’ve been saying this since the feature first came out.. Instagram is owned by Facebook and Facebook is known for limiting reach and engagement in order to force you into purchasing ads. They may be clumping “business owners” into the shadowban club because we’re more likely to need the engagement. By switching back to a personal account you could potentially pull yourself away from their slimey grip.

Based on my research this is all I have for you today. This issue is rapidly developing so if I find out any new information or possible remedies I will be certain to add them to this blog post. In the meantime, make sure you’re implementing my tips above to keep yourself safe from an Instagram Shadowban!

Want to learn how to attract more followers, increase your engagement and make more sales? 

Sign up for my FREE Instagram Authority E-Course!

Have you been the victim of an Instagram Shadowban? Did any of these solutions work for you?

Let me know in the comments!

> Keep on reading..

Leave a Reply

231 Comments on "Instagram Shadowban – What Is It, Why You Got One & How to Remove it!"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Kashlee Parmiter

Very good info on such a new topic! Thankfully we have not had to deal with this, but now I have a plan of action if we ever do! (And yet another reason to NEVER use automation! Just be real!)

Jo Cooksey

Hi Alex, is it just business accounts that get shadow banned or personal accounts too?


I haven’t noticed any lower engagement since switching to a biz account.


Thanks for the article! Lots of good information in here. I went into my settings and removed some unknown authorized accounts.

I have a few friends who had business profiles, and then went back to a personal page, but are still able to see analytics. Have you heard of that before?


Alex, thank you for this. I couldn’t sort through fact from fiction in all the panicked FB posts. I did notice a lower engagement rate (mainly likes) when I started on my account again, but I just figured it was from the newer algorithm changes. Their changes, I have noticed, are making it more of a challenge to grow our accounts, but I broke the 400 likes mark on my last post, so I still have hope!


Oh! Thanks Alex! I was using a the 60# trick and tried some apps like Buffer and Later..
Some weeks ago, my account just stopped growing.

I’m doing the things you recommend here. I’ll use this break to finally start writing for my blog, and make up a theme and start my PhD. 😀

Thanks for the good vibes!


Super informative; thank you Alex 🙂 I have never used autobots and have grown my account organically. But I just removed a number of ‘authorised apps’ that I didn’t even realise I had authorised! One question – I use Social Report for analytics (for all my SM accounts) – and had set up one automation to unfollow accounts that unfollowed me on IG. I have disabled it just in case. Does this apply to your first remedy above? Thanks.


Where do you find authorised apps?

sevgi Bolat

Thank you for informing a useful article


Great advice! I went through and revoked apps that had access and switched back to a personal account. If anything its a break from fretting about the numbers game. I want authentic followers. I can’t measure my success by their logistics. It’s nice to know, but only slows down my progress and distracts me from my mission of genuinely helping people. I’m going to check all of my hashtags later. There’s SO MUCH to learn about hashtagging. Thanks for all of the insights.

Cara Parrish

Alex, Be careful with the last recommendation. You can also be shadowbanned for running a business under a personal page.


Great Article Alex, as always! It seems tho, those that use automation continue to get huge followings, I know several in my local area. If instagram is cracking down on it, why are there accounts getting huger? lol…I agree its not an authentic way to grow.
I also being in pods can cause you to get shadow banned, since you are getting comments from same people all the time, not sure on that one tho??


Hi Alex, great post, so on point! Do you think that using IFTTT would cause an issue?


I want to know this too. I have a client’s account that was just DISABLED! I use tons of 3rd party apps as I manage multiple accounts, I use IFTT for auto-posting to Facebook and Twitter, and I use Iconosquare for commenting from there and for following from there (not auto-follow/unfollow). I also used Instagress. None of my other client accounts have been disabled so I’m wondering which was the setoff? sounds like Instagress, or maybe a manual “report” from another user? IG won’t let me contact them to find out or request a change. !

Arati Devasher

I want to know about IFTTT too, as I use it to backup my instagram to pinterest, and to post to twitter with images. @adevasher


I’ve been shadowbanned since December 2016 and at my wit’s end!! I’ve done all of the above short of converting back to a personal account… So I just did! (Thanks for the tip!) Now we wait and see…


Very helpful and informative, Alex! Thank you! Do you think using Later app (which I use to write captions and schedule my posts) could cause shadowban?


I use FollowBoom, FollowersFast, MegaFollow, PowerFollow, FollowerBoost, GetFollowers, FollowersFree, 1000Followers & InstaFollowers which are all free apps and every day you get points that you can apply to getting followers or likes. Are these considered bad as well for your feed?


I have never used any service or app, I never have used any trick to grow, but the last two months my engagement and growing has dropped by more than half.
What may caused this?
I do everything the same strategy I used two motnhs before


Thanks for the info! Was curious, when you say to engage manually, Im not sure what you mean. Thanks for your help!


I’ve revoked access to an app I didn’t know I was connected to but have left Iconosquare. I haven’t used my account for about 3 months until yesterday but only got 33 likes! Although I was regrammed by a very famous and influential person so got a few more follows from that! I’ve been shadowbanned as I couldn’t find my posts in the # sections but hopefully it will sort itself out now. Also changed back to personal account.


Thanks Alex, great post!
I would like to add that I run 2 accounts & have them both set to business & have not experienced any engagement issues or sudden drops. They are still relatively small accounts, but I still firmly believe that the follow unfollow process manually or otherwise can often build an un engaged audience. If you do not have an engaged audience you are going to be seen even less in their feeds & in explore.


Great article Alex! I learned something new today!

Hi Alex, My account gained a massive amount of followers very quickly from being featured by a few large accounts, and appearing in Explore several times. I went from 2k to 90k in 4 months. I never used any growth hacking methods or apps. I believe most of these followers are junk followers. I want to dump at least 50k of them to get my engagement back up. Here’s the question: have you heard of any penalties, or anyone being shadowbanned for blocking a mass amount of people? I’m trying to do it slowly, but it still scares me. Also,… Read more »
I’ve been shadowbanned for a couple months now on a personal account (it was never a business account). I first noticed it when my likes per post dropped almost to zero. I only post once every week or two and only like a few posts a day. I verified with another account that none of my pictures show up under hashtags. I never use more than 30 hashtags in a post and I’ve never linked my account to any external apps except for facebook. I’m at a loss as to what could have triggered this ban and so far nothing… Read more »

Thanks Alex! Great post Do you think use of InsTrack would bring on a shadow ban? I thought this one was ok with IG?

Dan May

This is such a helpful post – My account got shadow banned on Monday and we’ve been freaking out ever since. We only have a modest following on our fitness account but we’ve worked really hard for almost a year to build this organically so to be shadowbanned really sucks! Switched back to a personal account yesterday and we’re going to have a break for the weekend I think and hopefully it goes back to normal. I’ve also read that deactivating your account for a few days does the trick too, but i’m a bit loathed to do that!


Hey Dan, I’m curious if logging out for a few days fixed things? I’m in the same scenario and unsure what to do.


Hey Alex, great post as always! One thing I wanted to add: if you copy-paste your hashtags (for example from Notes) you may get shadow banned – I got banned twice in the last 5 days because I was using the same hashtags and not writing them manually.
Do you know if that is the general case?


My last 3 posts before my shadow ban were a copy and pasted list of about 15 hashtags I had made as they were all macro flower pics.., maybe that triggered it? I was a personal account now swapped to business for a while, have reported the issues, deleted the list from the 3 posts and having a break but so far nothing. I am all new to this and had only started this account about 2 wks ago so with 60 followers. Maybe I should just start all over again?

Daniel Lewis

Hi Alex! This is helpful but can you confirm that the steps suggested to get an account back to normal have worked for anyone to date?

Brittany Witt

Thanks for the help Alex! I went through and revoked all access to any apps I used except for my Plann app because I know your app is safe to use. There were a lot of unused apps but I’ve never used any automation apps, it was mostly things like Websta, Hoosuit, Snapppt and the like. I also just switched back to a personal account and hope this will be enough to fix the damage.

Noelia Cole

So much information I feel like I have to keep this for future reference. Such good materials. Now I know why my engagement went down.

Empire Design Events

It’s a fresh topic and instrumental information to all Instagram users. #societygal

Samantha Kaplan

Hey Alex,

Thank you so much for the wonderful article. I believe I have been experiencing a Shadowban so this information is really helpful. Would you recommend switching to a personal account before taking the 48 hour break or afterwards?


Does using Planoly cause shadowbanning?


Interesting article – thanks for sharing this info! Have seen so much online about Shadow Banning but not much on steps that might prevent/remedy it! Is there somewhere you can find out which apps are approved by IG (or conversely which aren’t?)

Melanie Whittaker

Love this post Im new to Instagram and slowly building a following so thanks for the advice.


I’ve been shadow banned unnoticed a huge drop in activity after one of my pics got a large amount of likes (I have a type of business account). So I switched back to a personal account and am staying off it for the 48 hours to see if it helps.

Sincerely Ophelia

this is super good. will book mark it for future reference.


Ashlyn Brownell

This is the first I’ve ever heard of this, but I’m very glad to know about it! It encourages me that the best way to grow a following is to be authentic and real. Thanks for the honest and helpful tips 🙂


Really interesting to read. Have heard so much about this and all seems like no one is completely sure what is happening but you’ve summed it up really good! Thanks for posting


“Lastly, if you have multiple accounts and you’re using automation on one of them, it could potentially affect your other accounts because they share an IP address.” How would they have the same IP address? Just wondering 🙂

Sarahi Cardenas

Amazing article! I’ve been wondering if I’ve been shadowban!! Thanks for the info!



Great article! Very clear stated.
One thing that is certain is that Instagram is able to flag your account as business, even if you have a personal account. I am reading about this ‘shadow’ ban daily now, and I never once hear our Duckface-posting-instagram friends get such a ban. I don’t know what Instagram’s goal with this is, but it seems very deliberate.

Jackie Ison

I had never heard of a shadow ban, which is probably a good thing. Thankfully, I don’t use any third party software to post to my accounts. Thank you for the information! If the issue ever comes up, I am glad that it can be fixed.

Jarrod Partridge

Has anyone noticed a shadow ban on new accounts?

I launched an account yesterday that isn’t hitting on anything, not a single like from a hashtag, not even a bot like or comment!

The weird thing is if I use an account that isn’t following this account and search under people for ‘manisbalidog’ the account comes up. If I search the hashtag #manisbalidog then it shows four posts, but you click the hashtag and it says no posts visible.

Weird? Any ideas/suggestions?


Hi just wondering if you know of anyone who has had the shadowban lifted?? And is SmarterQueue ok to use? Thank you for the great info

Nita Okoye

wow! i never knew some of these things actually existed .. very informative article thanks!


I am still so new to instagram and learned so much reading your post it wasn’t even funny. I had no clue about so much of this. Definitely will be looking into it as i work to understand insta better.

Tania Pomales

I’ve been shadow banned. It’s been about a week or so. I am just going to delete the app from my phone and let things sit for a while. This happened to me years ago, and the only solution at the time was to create a new account. I really hope I don’t have to do that. I will be so mad if i do…..


Oh Instagram. Everything always seems to be changing. My engagement has been lower so I’ll have to check this out.

Brenda | BrendaHaire

Never heard of this! Great post!


Hey Ally, do you know if the Planoly app is against instagram’s terms of service? I use it to plan out my feed and then post when it comes time to do so, but I’m afraid it’s making insta angry!

ally fiesta

Thank you for this post. I have become annoyed with mass followers so I appreciate IG taking control this issue, however, I do track my unfollowers. I will do follow this advice and hope it recovers my account.

Lori Somes
This may be really show my naivite on Instagram,have to admit I am a beginner and have only a personal account, but when I went to “Authorized Applications” on the Edit Profile, I tried to revoke access to one. However, when I tried I got “Are you sure you want to revoke this app’s access?” and was unable to get to the “Yes” or “No” box…it was hidden and didn’t allow me to see it. Is there anything I can do about this? I am trying to follow the guidelines you provided. Frustrating and enhancing my “I don’t know how… Read more »