Imagine investing your time, creativity, and budget into growing your Instagram presence, only to realize you’re reaching fewer users with your message and getting less reactions.

Why could this be happening? The obvious answers are: lower quality of visuals, wrong hashtags, “unlucky” communication time, or irrelevant topics. But while you might know exactly how to improve engagement rates in any of these cases (you could try another topic or post Stories at another time), if the real reason is an Instagram shadowban, further actions to make a shadowbanned account whitelisted again are unclear.

So, what does “shadowbanned” mean? In this article, we’ll explain the shadowban phenomenon, teach you how to conduct a simple Instagram shadowban test, and share techniques that’ll help you become visible for wider audiences again.

instagram shadowban


What is an Instagram shadowban?

“Am I shadowbanned on Instagram or is my content just bad?” This is a question influencers, SMM managers, and content producers may ask themselves when their content starts getting low audience reach or engagement rates. Unfortunately, none of them will ever know the truth, since you can’t check your shadowban Instagram status using official tools the platform provides—Instagram Story shadowban, as well as comment ghosting or stealth ban for your Feed posts, is applied to your account without notification or warning.

What is shadowban on Instagram? This unofficial term is used to describe situations in which the social media platform applies censorship to one’s content by limiting who can see and interact with it. The most common forms shadow banning may take on Instagram are:

  • An account is no longer shown in search;
  • Users can’t find an account’s posts using the hashtag search;
  • An account doesn’t appear in the Explore section;
  • Subscribers see your Stories or posts after dozens of other less relevant content;
  • Your comments under posts by other users are shown at the bottom of the comment section.

The Instagram shadowban checker (which we’ll discuss in this article) can help you understand what’s going on with your account quite accurately, however, it won’t provide you with 100% evidence of why your account in shadowbanned.

What is a shadowban for a marketer using Instagram as their main marketing communication tool, and is there anything they can do right away to reconnect with their audience? If they don’t fix their shadowban on Instagram, they will have to spend more on content promotion and accept the fact that they’ll have less clients.

The general rule to remove a shadowban on Instagram is to dive deeper into the platform’s community guidelines, detect reasons why you might be shadowbanned, and try to adjust your content plan accordingly. Below, we give you the most popular reasons why the platform may ghost ban you.

instagram shadowban test


Common reasons for getting shadowbanned on Instagram

1. “Unfair” techniques to gain followers

If you ask yourself “Why am I shadowbanned on instagram?” after gaining a fake 2,000 followers through a third-party app, the answer is obvious. Buying followers, mass following in order to get a return subscription, as well as a large number of suspicious and fake accounts among your followers may cause your account to be (shadow) banned. You are also at risk if your audience has grown rapidly for no apparent reason.

2. Too many (irrelevant) hashtags

If you use hashtags that have a lot of followers, but your content doesn’t match the essence of those tags, your account will look suspicious to Instagram. Avoid a large number of popular hashtags and try to only use those that describe your posts.

3. Too many direct messages and likes to “lesser known” users

Does spam liking cause shadowban on Instagram? Yes. If you’re sending a lot of private messages and leaving an abnormally large number of responses in a short period of time, you may find yourself in a shadow ban. Instagram encourages natural and public discussions—so try to communicate via comments.

4. Hashtags violating Instagram’s ethical terms

Like most social networks, Instagram supports human rights and diversity, and fights against racism and discrimination. The platform also does not encourage the posting of “adult” or violent content. Hashtags banned on Instagram in 2023: #followforfollow, #nudity, #bikinibody.

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5. New content ranking algorithms

The platform often changes algorithms for displaying content. Such changes may have a purely technical background (for example, Instagram began to favor accounts that users have just followed) aiming to show a better selection of content. However, politically biased changes are also possible: Instagram can hide posts about a certain event (for example, Russia’s war against Ukraine) by accounts from a certain region.

6. Interactions with “backlisted” accounts

Sometimes, to remove an Instagram shadowban, adjusting your hashtags and avoiding senitive topics is not enough. Engaging with accounts that the platform deems to be suspicious may also affect your online presence.

7. Visuals that don’t 100% comply with Instagram’s terms

Instagram applies complicated algorithms to recognize objects in your image, as well as assess their safety and relevance to its general audience.

Sometimes, your images may be similar to what is prohibited on the platform (pornography and scenes of violence) or belong to a category that Instagram does not encourage. For example, visuals depicting war. How long does an Instagram shadowban last if you post something that they deemed inappropriate? Most often, it takes a day for the platform to doublecheck your content and make a final decision.

8. Users reporting your content

Shadow blocking may be the result of other users complaining about your account. Even if their reports are unfounded, the platform will consider them as a general reason to show your content to similar users less often.

what is shadowban on instagram


Signs of being shadowbanned: How to detect your status

There are several ways to check Instagram shadowban status. Most of them can’t give you accurate ban reasons, but understanding what happened to your account can help you adjust your communication strategy and optimize resources. Here are several methods to check your account:

1. Go to your Account Status

Account Status is one of menu sections that appears if you have a professional Instagram account. To find it, go to “Menu”, select “Settings”, “Account”, and then “Account Status”. Next, find out what is currently affecting the display of your content for users. Next, you can take specific suggested actions to edit your content.

2. Instagram shadowban test online

There are numerous third-party tools that allow you to quickly detect if your account is currently shadow banned. We can’t vouch for the performance of these tools, so we’ll just list a few of the more popular ones: Shadowban Detector by smip, Triberr’s Instagram Shadowban Test, and Shadowban Tester by The Heist. All you have to do is enter a user name to see if there is anything abnormal in how others see the account’s content.

3. Manual shadowban Instagram check

After you’ve detected that your account is performing worse than before, you can experiment to find out if it’s just a lack of interest in your content from users, or if the Instagram algorithms are at play.

  • Try using unpopular, but not banned hashtags (less than 1K posts with them) for your next post. Ask someone who isn’t following you to search for the hashtag you used. If that person doesn’t see your post, you’re most likely shadowbanned.
  • Check the tags in the post that caused the potential shadowban. Perhaps, one or more of them are not in line with Instagram policies or are considered to be dangerous for the platform’s community. They may also be former banned hashtags. Remove them and check your analytics in 2—3 days. Some tools to check if hashtags are banned or not: Banned Hashtags Checker, IQHastags’ Checker, and Hashtag Checker by Flick.
  • Compare analytics of your posts in Feed and on hashtag pages. If the reach for hashtag search continues to grow, and the rest of the indicators have decreased significantly, most likely, you have been shadowbanned.
  • Ask your followers through Stories if they’ve seen your recent posts in their Feed. If the majority say they haven’t, it could be that your account is shadowbanned.
  • If the reason for your Instagram shadowban is reports from other accounts, your account analytics will contain sharp drops with a general gradual decrease in post and Stories reach. These sudden drops usually occur immediately after several people reported your content.

instagram story shadowban

Why did Instagram shadowban me and what should I do to get out of the shadows?

The reason for an Instagram shadowban instead of a classic ban is a violation of the platform’s recommendations, spamming activity, the use of bots to multiply followers and reactions to your posts, as well as adding prohibited and irrelevant hashtags for your posts. Also, the activity of other users, that is, their reports, can lead to a temporary shadow ban.

The good news is that a shadow ban is not permanent and lasts somewhere from two days to a month. There is how to stop shadowban on Instagram:

Delete a post after which you were shadow banned

Review your account analytics and delete a post or posts after you notice a drop in your profile’s reach.

Review and edit your last 10 posts

Instagram shadowban fixing includes inspecting your recent posts. Check your posts for violence, hate speech, prohibited hashtags, and edit the texts.

Contact support managers

The platform uses AI-powered algorithms to determine whether your content contains anything dangerous for its community—sometimes, these algorithms aren’t accurate. That’s why another answer to the question of how to fix shadowban on Instagram is to send a request to platform moderators to get your content re-checked.

Take at least a 2-day break from Instagram activities

If you get shadow banned, Instagram will rank your further content lower regardless of its quality and the topics you touch upon. Don’t waste your resources—Stop posting activity and paid promotions for a couple of days.

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If you used third-party tools to grow your audience, disable them immediately

By using tools for followers and reactions, you can lose your account and all of your followers completely.

Deactivate and activate your account

If you are interested in how to remove shadowban on Instagram as soon as possible, try to “restart” your account by deactivating and activating it again.

Post Reels instead of photos and videos

Reels is a format that Instagram prioritizes these days. Even if you are shadowbanned, the platform will make your Reels content visible to the audience, and will also give you more scores in Feed and Stories. This way, you can compensate for the negative effects of being shadowbanned.

Update the new content release schedule

Become socially active again (in terms of posts and Stories) a few days after detecting that you’ve been shadow blocked. To fix your shadow ban, stick to a posting schedule—there should be an equal amount of time between posts.

am i shadowbanned on instagram


Final thoughts

What is an Instagram shadowban? From a marketer’s perspective, being shadowbanned on social media means having less engagement, fewer reactions to content, and a significant decrease in audience reach. All of this leads to profit losses, and any communication campaign becomes less productive and more expensive; the only way to reach same number of users with your posts and Stories is to activate paid promotion and release more content that Instagram appreciates (Reels).

Does Instagram shadowban go away with time? Yes. It usually takes from two days to a month to become totally whitelisted again. However, you can speed up the process by taking certain actions, which includes contacting the Instagram support team in order to check your status and fix it, as well as deleting posts after which you might have been shadowbanned.

When “Instagram shadowbans for no reason” it does not mean that your content is of low quality or that your audience does not like it. Take a break in your social media activity, audit your tone of voice to improve it, edit your recent posts, and continue your campaigns with new energy.


Get more eyes on your content by following our tips:

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