Shadowbanning came into play in early 2017. During the earlier stages of Instagram, posts would show up on your feed in chronological order. This made it easy for accounts to get likes and comments. The bigger the account was, the more likes it would get, since all of the followers saw their posts. This also increased their chances of coming up on the Explore Page.
Nowadays, Instagram’s algorithms have evolved and become quite complex to figure out. Instagram can “hide” your posts from most of the people that follow you. It’s rumored that each one of your posts are only shown to between 10% and 30% of your followers, and the rest of the people are left in the shadows. They don’t even get to see your post unless they specifically look you up.
After Instagram implemented shadowbanning it came out with another tweak in the algorithm. It started shadowbanning hashtags. If you’re using 30 hashtags, only a portion of people that look for those hashtags see your post. Shadowbanning has made the game of Instagram more complicated to play, but, at the same time, it has enabled smaller accounts to do well so long as their content is good. At least that’s what I have seen throughout my experience with the platform.
Seeing engagement on my posts drop significantly use to really frustrate me. I started to think that they were doing this because they wanted us all to pay for our posts to get exposure. However, the more time I spent on Instagram, the more I realized that by making these changes, Instagram is cleaning up the community.
Accounts that have bought followers are now losing them and are scrambling to keep looking legit. I find it hilarious to see huge accounts complaining that they are getting screwed over by Instagram because they are losing followers. They fail to tell the full story of them cheating their way to the top in the first place.
The first type of shadow ban is the follower shadow ban. Back in the day, it used to be that 100% of your followers on Instagram saw your posts. Therefore, if you had a large following, getting on the explore page was never an issue. Instagram started judging every post according to its performance during the first 15 minutes. The more reactions your post got right away (likes, comments, saves, shares), the more people the post would be shown to.
Accounts that saw your posts, were constantly changing. However, it seemed like the more you engaged with an account, the more that account saw your posts.
There have been numerous times where I have not seen a bunch of my friends’ posts. I only saw them once I went to their accounts. After I engaged with a few of their posts, they started showing up on my timeline once again. Instagram’s reasoning behind this is they aim to make the user experience as pleasant as possible. Sounds good and all, but I gather that they probably make others pay to get the engagement that they are used to. Either way, that’s the game of Instagram and we are just playing it. If you can’t adapt, then you will be very disappointed, and your account will eventually dwindle.
If limiting your post exposure to your followers was not enough, Instagram’s newest algorithm update is shadow banning hashtags. What does this mean? Just like before, your posts are now not showing up for most of the people that are looking for the hashtags you used. Let’s say that you used a hashtag #instagram, only a small portion of people that search for those hashtags will see your post.
If you use the same hashtags over and over without switching them up a bit, you’ll feel the consequences. I switch mine up with every post. I have a set of 30 hashtags that I use consistently with only a 5-6 of the hashtags changed constantly. However, now I started noticing that adding hashtags in your posts is less and less relevant.
You can check if your post is shadowbanned by going to this website and typing in your Instagram handle. You should do it a few minutes after you post because if you wait longer it will just show up as shadowbanned so you will not know the truth. The point is to see if your hashtags were shadowbanned from the beginning.