Recently, multiple creators have been claiming that they’ve been ‘shadowbanned’. It seems like the term gets thrown around pretty easily, yet there is still so much mystery surrounding the phenomenon. Are these creators right: is shadowbanning truly a thing? If so, what does it imply? And more importantly: how can you avoid it?

(Let’s stick to Instagram for now, but know that there is speculation of shadowbanning on pretty much every social platform out there)

What is a shadowban?

‘shadowbanned’ basically means that Instagram limits your content without any notification or explanation. They hide your posts and depriortize your account. Which makes your content undiscoverable. In some cases, it even gets removed.

It decrease your visibility and reach enormously, which in turn affects your engagement rate. It can make your growth or progress stop in its tracks. No matter how hard you’re trying to build your community, it can all stop in an instant… And you don’t even know why. Logically, creators are more frustrated.

It’s difficult to prove though, because Instagram keeps on denying it exists.

So does it actually exist?

Thousands of creators have been complaining about it for a while now, with plenty of them showing considerable proof. Still, Instagram has never actually accepted the term.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Instagram just sees it differently.

In a recent blogpost, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri shed some light on the topic: “We recognize that we haven’t always done enough to explain why we take down content when we do, what is recommendable and what isn’t, and how Instagram works more broadly.” He added: “As a result, we understand people are inevitably going to come to their own conclusions about why something happened, and that those conclusions may leave people feeling confused or victimized.”

In other words: yes, Instagram filters content, because they want to keep their platform as free from abuse and spam as possible. They want users to share genuine, good content, so they’ve put this moderation process in place to cancel out all posts that don’t respect the community guidelines.

Of course it’s impossible to control and precisely filter the content of more than 500 million daily active users. It’s only logical that the outcome is very flawed. But it’s more so the lack of communication and transparency that makes the shadowban so ungraspable.

How can you prevent it?

Since Instagram is one of the biggest places of business for creators, it’s important to stay on their good side by abiding by their rules.

Here’s a short list of measures you can take to avoid being shadowbanned:

–   First of all: read and follow all their community guidelines

–   No use of bots or other services to increase your growth

–   Stay away from buying followers

–   Do not spam your own posts with hundreds of similar hashtags

–   Avoid overly popular/broken/very general hashtags that have become overrun with inappropriate content

–   Don’t spam others with comments and likes like your life depends on it – Instagram will mistake that for bot activity

–   Don’t frequently follow and unfollow a lot of accounts at once

–   Take a break from time to time (people have reported that a two or three day break works like a reset to the system)

–   This should speak for itself, but don’t post illegal or inappropriate content

–  Avoid using third-party apps

–  Avoid getting reported

It might seem like a lot, but all of the above actually tells you one thing: you should try to be as authentic as possible.

The Instagram algorithm has evolved to promote authenticity, engagement and community. They’ll surely reward those who go along. Those who don’t, will be shadowbanned.

Would you like to learn more about improving your engagement? Head on over to our hub.