Gwennan Rees

Blogger and Illustrator

Shadow Banning; Yet Another Way Instagram Has Dicked Over It's Users

Shadow Banning; Yet Another Way Instagram Has Dicked Over It's Users

I had an entirely different post planned for tonight that only needed formatting before it was published but you're going to have to wait for that now (it was bujo related) because sometimes gang, a girl just needs a rant ok?

For those of you who have seen my Insta stories you'll know I have recently discovered I've been shadowbanned from Instagram and I suspect it's been happening a lot longer before I bothered to check. I got my Instagram randomly deleted in June and I have been struggling to build any kind of following or engagement since then - it's all been a bit fishy. 

So let's start with introductions. What exactly is shadowbanning?

Stealth banning-also called shadow banning or ghost banning, is the act of blocking a user from an online community such that the user does not realise that they have been banned.

The way to find out if you've been shadow banned or not is to first explore why you think you might have? For me there was the warning signs of lower engagement, lower likes and an insanely slow growth (like even more slowly than the normal algorithm). I also had a much higher rate and growth on Insta stories making me sure that my account was still being seen and enjoyed but that my actual posts weren't. 

I've heard you can use tools to find out if your account has been shadow banned but I don't know how reliable they are so the best way is the old fashioned way. You need to look at your account from an account that doesn't follow you to see whether or not your latest pics are showing up in hashtags - if they're not a sure tell tale sign you've been banned. I have 3 accounts, a blog, an illustration and a personal which is private and filled with photos of me and my mates or my niece. I don't follow my blog on my personal account so when logged into it I searched hashtags I'd used on my last few photos and found out that yes, low and behold I was shadow banned. Weirdly not on my travel hashtags though so appaz Insta is fine with that. 

If you're not showing up on hashtags the likelihood of your photos being seen and liked and the likelihood of you gaining new followers that way is very very slim. The best part about shadow banning is that everything looks fine to both you and your followers, you still show on hashtags, you still show on their feeds and everything looks gravy. This of course makes it impossible to have any new growth if only accounts that already follow you can see you but due to the shitty algorithm means the chances of you even being on their feed is massively decreased anyway. 

Just another way in which Instagram has fucked it for the user.  

Still relevant....

'55 thoughts we all had on the Instagram Algorithm update' 

Throughout the past year Instagram has made it near impossible for smaller accounts to get any growth or make any kind of change. The blog posts I read nowadays with tips on how to generate new followers are null and void, we're all playing the same tricks and doing the same things and nothing changes. We use hashtags, we don't use hashtags, we use hashtags in the caption, we use hashtags in the comments, we follow lots of new people, Insta thinks we're bots, we like lots of photos, Insta thinks we're bots....the only people Instagram seem to not penalise is those users who actually use bots. 

Even bigger bloggers, influencers, Instagrammers, creators, whatever you want to call them are reporting a slower growth on their accounts. Sure they're still growing because they already had that backbone of core following and fan base but it's noticeably slower than it used to be. Long gone for us smaller accounts are the days when we'd get maybe 200 new followers in a month. I reckon I'd be hard pushed to have gained 200 genuine new followers in the year, especially as my little account deletion put me back down from over 1100K. 

Instagram is penalising smaller accounts, being shady about who's banned and who can find out they're banned. They've made it difficult to engage with people. difficult to see the accounts you like and 100% more difficult to grow any kind of following. And sure we all love it because we like to upload, we like to look at photos, it's not all about the numbers.....except when it comes to taking the next step up in your blogging game or securing brand collabs because your Instagram isn't successful enough. 

Yet what Instagram haven't done is penalise those actually using bots, those who bought followers, those who were exposed during all that scandal. What Instagram haven't done is penalise every cast member of Love Island who came out with a brand deal and never disclose anything as #ad. What Instagram haven't done is deleted the bot accounts, the accounts that have been inactive for 12 years and those who don't have any photos but only comment hate. 

Instagram has dicked over it's core user; you and me. 


So what can you do if you've been shadow banned? Well you tell me cos I sure as hell need all the help I can get. 

I've heard that liking lots of photos in one go makes Instagram think you're a bot so try spreading out your love without loosing everyone you want to see on your feed. Also switching up hashtags seems to be the main reason people are banned but I have 8 sets of 30 different hashtags I switch around on my images and like I said, I'm still invisible on all but the travel posts so maybe it's the specific tags you're using? I'll report back if I'm ever unveiled again. 


Hit me up with your beat the shadow ban tips and keep all your fingers and toes crossed (but don't hold your breath) that Instagram listens to the user and goes back to it's old, much better, ways. 













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