Yup, that happened, the thing that you always hear about but don’t realize the gravity of it until it happens to you. Yup, I am that victim and I am going to relive here that horrific time when Instagram Shadowbanned me, only because I want you to learn from my mistake and be aware of Instagram Shadowbans.
But before we talk about it, some outfit pictures from an event I attended yesterday where I donned this white blazer dress over a turtleneck sweater (because winter) and gave it a cinched waist look with a yellow belt. And lastly paired it with the statement plaid boots!
So it was a regular Friday evening when I was lying in my bed and ready to pull out my scheduled post to publish it on Instagram, spent good 2 minutes brainstorming on the caption and then used the same hashtags that I use every time. I mean after a while it’s just handy and right there in the hashtags recommendation so why sweat and explore other hashtags to use, right?? WRONG!! This is where I went wrong because no, my post that day never showed up in the hashtags because I was “Shadowbanned”. Well, it’s a real term in the Instagram community. However, this has never been acknowledged by Instagram because they like playing with people’s minds and their strategies or algorithms are not out in open (damn you evil genius!).
So how did I figure out that I have been Shadowbanned? Well, to start with I noticed only few people who regularly engage with my posts were the ones liking and commenting on it, and no new non-follower account was engaging. Then I immediately clicked on the hashtag used only to notice my post was not showing up. I re-confirmed this with my other account by unfollowing the blog account and then clicked on the hashtag used and it still wasn’t showing up. Then I re-re-confirmed it by opening my Instagram page without logging into it in an incognito google browser, hoping for a miracle. But nope, my post was still not showing up in the hashtags used.
What next? Well the meltdown with an attack of the gloomiest thoughts such as “this is it.. this is how it all ends.. this must be what apocalypse feels like..”. With few moments of introspection that this must be my bad karma for never tipping my Uber drivers or may be the time I cursed Instagram for constantly changing their algorithms or the time I spoke in a slight high tone with my mom. And then next minute, (not being dramatic at all but..) crafting a good bye message in my head for my last post on Instagram. (In other news, I had a sad realization that Instagram has so much power over me. We are totally living the Black Mirror horror).
After spending few minutes on the meltdown, the next stage was turning on my Sherlock mode to get to the bottom of it and started the rigorous research. I reached out to few of my other blogger friends on Instagram who I know are very resourceful and found out that it was happening with lot of people that day as Instagram was running some updates so it could be the result of it. On the other side, I started reading articles on it and found this one article that was super helpful and gave me the exact answer I was looking for on “how long will it last for” and the answer was 14 days with some other tips on what can you do while waiting. And based on this article and other things I read on the internet, I tried out following few things:
(1) Changed my hashtag game: I totally removed hashtags from past few posts and for next post onwards I started using less number of and completely new set of hashtags that I had never used before (Yes, I made this lazy ass work and explored some new relevant hashtags!!). But don’t hope for it to magically go back to normal, you still have to serve the 14 days sentence of shadowban. But I believe this could help in letting Instagram know you realize your mistake.
(2) Slowed down on engaging: I minimized if not completely stopped the way I engaged with others’ posts by taking a break from liking and commenting and not replying to comments on my own posts for a few days. Because you may not want to do anything unknowingly during this time that further triggers the ban.
(3) Boosted a post: One of the suggestions was that boosting a post could force Instagram to take this shadowban off in order to get a wider reach for that particular post. I don’t particularly think this could have helped but it was worth trying.
(4) Switching back to the personal account: Some article suggested that switching back to the personal account from a business account could help. However, I personally don’t think this really helps, and you better be careful with this one because I lost all my insights on my older posts and being a statistic geek, I am not very happy about it.
(5) Report a problem on Instagram: This was a sheer waste of time because I did not get any response on the reports I made for my account nor Instagram has any email or customer service number to be contacted at so you can try it out but do not expect a response.
(6) Wait for 14 days: Ultimately, it was 14 days that it took to get things back to normal as that article suggested which turned out to be true in my case too.
The lesson I learnt: Although, there are many known reasons that could get you shadowbanned as listed here, I personally think the only mistake I have made out of it was using the same hashtags again and again and I am going to be careful about it. But make sure to go through that list to be aware of other things that could trigger it.
So have you ever been shadowbanned by Instagram? Be sure to comment below and share your experience and tips.
Until next time, Bisous ❤