White Blazer & Graphic Tee: Shadowbanned

White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants.

“Shadowban”…it sounds like some covert deep government operation doesn’t it? While it has nothing to do with the government, it is covert, and in my opinion more than a little bit shifty. If you are at all involved with Instagram, particularly if you are a blogger with a business account, than I’m sure the term shadowban sends a chill down your spine…

THE STORY

…Perhaps you’ve heard the term, but paid little attention because like me, you thought “I’ll never get shadowbanned. I’m a well behaved law-abiding Instagram user.” Uhhh, ya. I thought that until I was shadowbanned. Yes friends, through extensive investigation I have ascertained that I have indeed been banished to the nether regions of Instagram.

My first thought when I confirmed it? W.T.F?? What did I do? How did it happen? And how do I fix it? To answer these questions I have done extensive research over the past few days, and I want to share what I’ve learned with you so that you can avoid what could potentially amount to your Instagram becoming D.O.A.

I’m assuming that we all know that in Insta-world the hashtag is king. Hashtags are how potential clients/followers primarily discover us. When you tag your post with a particular term, your post then shows up in that hashtag feed. Unless you have been shadowbanned. Simply stated, a shadowban means that your posts do not show up in any hashtag feed. The only people who can see your posts are those who already follow you. And if you check the hashtag feeds from your own account, your post shows up. See what I mean by shifty? You aren’t notified of said ban and you are led to believe all is well because you still see your posts in the feeds. Adding to the shiftiness, Instagram is not really acknowledging the issue.

There seems to be two schools of speculation thought on why it’s happening since Instagram is remaining tight-lipped. The less nefarious of the two is simply they have tweaked the algorithm to weed out bots, fake accounts and those who are misusing Instagram and unfortunately, a fair number of innocent users are getting caught up in the algorithm’s net. The second not so nice theory is that since the shadowban seems to be primarily hitting business (as opposed to personal) accounts, Instagram is doing this purposely to drive business accounts into paid posts much like Facebook. Whatever the reason, it’s wreaking havoc in Insta-world.

How do I know if my account has been shadowbanned?

  • Your engagement drops WAY down over the course of several posts. Low engagement on a post or two isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, but more than that and you might want to pay attention. Over the course of many days, my engagement (number of likes) dropped around 55% consistently. On every post.
  • To verify a shadowban, post a photo with just a few hashtags. Choose unpopular tags with low numbers so it will be easier to find (or not find) your post.
  • Here’s the key: check the hashtag feed of the tags that you used from an account that does not follow you. I simply had my daughter unfollow me and then I checked the feeds from her account. Then I double checked using her friend’s account. Lo and behold, while the post was visible from my account it was not from theirs.

OMG…I’m shadowbanned (or I want to avoid being shadowbanned). What do I do?

First, let me state that there is no sure-fire way to get out of shadowban limbo. Again, since Instagram isn’t acknowledging that there even is an issue, there is no way to be certain how to remedy it. Through trial and error and anecdotal evidence the following steps seem to work to varying degrees. If you have been shadowbanned try any and all of the fixes until you find one that works for your particular account. Keep in mind that some shadowbans seem to be lifted within a few days, other a few weeks and I’ve even seen horror stories of a few months.

  • Since the ban seems to hashtag-centric it makes sense to start there. First, stop using the same hashtags for every post. That might not be difficult if you post a variety of photos on your account. My photos are all outfit shots of some sort therefore I always use basically the same set of hashtags, it’s difficult to find a variety of tags to use when your account is focused on one subject. Unfortunately the Instagram algorithm finds the use of the same tags repeatedly to be spammy.
  • Do not post then immediately fill the first comment with hashtags. I was doing that because it helps the caption to look cleaner, but no more.
  • Do not use broken hashtags. A broken hashtag is one that Instagram has shut down typically because unsavory individuals were posting inappropriate shots under that tag. You’ll know a tag is broken if it shows no top posts and only a few recent posts or none it all with a message saying the tag is no more. Now don’t be thinking, ” I don’t use tags like #hotbooty so I’m safe.” Seemingly innocent tags like #Kansas or #Easter are broken/banned. If you use even one broken tag it will nullify every other tag in your post.
  • Do not go on a huge spree of any kind…a liking spree, a follow/unfollow spree…the algorithm will think that you’re a bot.
  • On the subject of bots, do not use any kind of automation software. Ever. For anything. Even apps that autopost for you are a problem.
  • Pods may or may not be an issue. While they have nothing to do with hashtags, the algorithm seems to view pod activity as a way to “game the system”. And that apparently makes the algorithm displeased. Better safe than sorry.
  • If your account is “Business”, change it back to “Personal”. Yes, you’ll lose the analytics function, but I would sure as hell rather lose that than be invisible.
  • Go dark for 2 to 3 days. That means no Instagram activity at all. For a lot of people this seems to reset the account.

What have I done to be released from shadowban prison?

I know I should have been all scientific and tried one thing at a time to see if it worked. Um ya, I don’t have that kind of patience. So last night I did all of the following:

  • As per one of the articles I read, I went back through my recent posts and deleted not only the comment with hashtags, but all hashtags, even in the caption.
  • Last night I spent a verrryy long time going through every single post removing #boho which is a broken tag. You can only imagine how many times I used that tag…
  • I switched my account back to “Personal”.
  • I am no longer participating in any pods.

This morning I did the same check using my daughter’s account that I mentioned above. The post showed in all of the feeds I tagged. I’m not certain that I’m safe though, so I am doing one more test post tomorrow and then I’m off the ‘gram for a few days to try the reset theory. Hopefully all will be well next week…I’ll keep you posted.

**If you know anything that I haven’t posted or you have been shadowbanned, please share in the comments.

THE OUTFIT

There are few things I love more than a good fashion juxtaposition and that’s exactly what I’ve got going on here. You’ve got some professional going on with the white blazer and skinny dress pants and then there’s some rebel with the concert tee and Converse. I told you the other day, a red shoe, even a sneaker makes an outfit a whole lot more fun and these Converse definitely do the trick. The lighting was apparently jacked because they look somewhat pink, but trust me they are screamin’ red.

The tee is from the Elton John concert I saw last year with my boy, and it has quite the story behind it so that makes it even more fun to wear. And the black skinnies were the perfect foundation to build the rest of the outfit on. A blazer, graphic tee and black pants are a super easy outfit formula for days when you don’t have a lot of time.

THE TIP

Pair opposite pieces for an unexpected and fun look.

THE LINK UPS

Check out the weekly link ups I participate in for even more fashion and style ideas…White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants.White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants.White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants. White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants.White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants. White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants.White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants. White blazer, graphic tee and black skinny pants.

Blazer: JCPenney;  Tee: Similar;  Pants: Chico’s;  Shoes: Converse via Nordstrom

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26 Comments

  1. 05.10.2017 / 10:05 pm

    Girl—I think I need you as my advisor!! First, I had no idea about this issue, but if I ever have any issues, I think you are the person to contact!!
    I have to laugh because if my engagement is down—I immediately suspect that no one likes me anymore–ha ha!! I’d never even heard of shadowban….
    Let me just say, I’m glad I know you—because I’ll be picking your brain until the end of time!!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
    Jodie filogomo recently posted…Why You Should Have a Variety Dresses in your ClosetMy Profile

  2. 05.10.2017 / 10:20 pm

    Debbie, thanks for all the info. I don’t do a whole lot on Instagram, but my daughter does for me. I will definitely pass the info along to her. Love your outfit. Simply perfect! – Amy
    http://stylingrannymama.com/

  3. 05.11.2017 / 9:07 am

    Debbie,

    I was thinking I need to go back through all my posts, but on a side note, I used to use the Nike #Justdoit hashtag until one 6:00 am check on where I was in the hashtag feed, tons of porn was on the hashtag!! Someone was sleeping at Instagram!!
    I will ask my kids to unfollow me to see if I am shadow banned.

    Ugh!
    Be Fierce sister!
    ROBIN LAMONTE recently posted…The Happy HeartMy Profile

  4. 05.11.2017 / 11:20 am

    Adorable outfit and just love the retro red tennis shoes! So, I am probably one of the last bloggers on earth not on Instagram but I just simply don’t have time for it and know that it will consume my precious family time even more. However, I have heard of shadow banning and all these issues are even more reason for me not to join Instagram and my blog has grown tremendously despite not being on it. Great compiled info and I will pass that along to my friends!

  5. 05.11.2017 / 11:25 am

    Wow. Sorry that happened to you. I heard a few other bloggers have that happened. And some people are getting tagged because if they are doing a sponsored post they aren’t using the correct hashtag for sponsored activity per the ftc or being sneaky about the sponsorship. I switched to a personal account because of the algorithm thank you for linking up!
    Stephanie recently posted…Mom and me style, Thursday Moda linkupMy Profile

  6. 05.11.2017 / 11:49 am

    Good post Debbie! It’s all so “suspicious”. I get trying to eliminate bots and malicious use, but it’s all so difficult to keep up with if you’re an innocent Instagrammar.

  7. Love this post! I starting adding my hashtags to the caption too. I hate the way it looks, but like you would rather be safe than sorry!

    • debbies
      05.11.2017 / 8:25 pm

      Definitely! Avoid the shadowban at all costs!!

    • debbies
      05.11.2017 / 8:24 pm

      Thank you Angie! The shadowban thing is so insanely frustrating and I thought if I could save even one person from the irritation by sharing what I knew, it would be worth it. 🙂

  8. 05.11.2017 / 9:47 pm

    I had never heard of this but I am so glad you are writing about it because I am pretty sure it is happening to my account too. Of course I have a bursiness account and the fact that I promoted my facebook and IG posts a few times, now unless I promote they wont let my feed be seen…so frustrating. I will look into what you said and change my profile to personal acct too and see if it makes a difference. You look fab by the way 🙂
    Nora

  9. 05.12.2017 / 5:09 am

    Great post Debbie, I feel your pain and the most frustrating part is that Instagram won’t acknowledge what they’re doing! How can we follow the rules when we don’t know what they are?

  10. 05.12.2017 / 9:59 am

    Oh my this is such wonderful information! I have heard of this and know others who have had it happen! It is crazy! I have the business account and will switch back to personal. I am not a fan of Facebook and only opened an account when I joined the fierce 50. Earlier this week my FB business page was pinned to the fierce 50 group page and non of us can figure out how to get if off. I had to deactivate my FB account completely! Now I have lost all my FB followers and will have to do without it or start all over. It is just frustrating to no end!

    You outfit by the way is just amazing!

    Peace!
    Cheryl Tucker
    Cheryl Tucker recently posted…The Wicker ToteMy Profile

  11. 05.12.2017 / 4:54 pm

    What a great post-Debbie, thanks for al the info I had not heard of this before. I use loads of hashtags too. I never get that many likes so I think I am Ok but I will be keeping an eye on it, thanks. Great look, love your jacket 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the weekend blog hop.
    clairejustine recently posted…Chocolate Guinness Cake..My Profile

  12. 05.12.2017 / 10:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing these tips. Automated algorithm have so many uncertainties. Often 5-10% failure. It would be good if there were at least had an established appeal process.
    nicole recently posted…New OOTD and linkupMy Profile

  13. 05.13.2017 / 12:21 pm

    This is soo weird, Insta is all about the tags…:S So stupid!

  14. 05.13.2017 / 5:07 pm

    I just recently heard about shadowbanning. All of this information is really helpful! I’m sorry you had to deal with it and hope you account resets soon! I love this relaxed look! That jacket is fab!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink
    Jill recently posted…Blush Top & Olive Utility Vest (& TFF Linkup)My Profile

  15. 05.14.2017 / 3:25 pm

    Are you kidding???????!!!!! I had NO IDEA! I’ve never heard of this! A little scary right? Thank you so much for all this good information!!!!!! Good luck and kept us posted!!!!! HAPPY MOGHERS DAY by the way! 💐

  16. 05.14.2017 / 3:26 pm

    Oopsie……KEEP us posted! XO

  17. 05.14.2017 / 7:28 pm

    That must of been such a pain in the butt!!! On the good note… your outfit is on point! I am all about a good white blazer 🙂
    Thank you for linking up with Weekend Wear

    xo
    Mel

  18. 05.14.2017 / 11:12 pm

    Oh no, so sorry friend! Thanks for all the tips!Great outfit too 😀

  19. 05.15.2017 / 6:39 am

    I’ve been hearing about the shadowbanning. Such a shady practice. Thanks for all your research and advice. Love this white blazer outfit!

  20. 05.15.2017 / 6:40 am

    Hi Debbie–Thanks for the info. Hope your account gets back on track soon. First–I’m with you on a POP of color makes an outfit. The red Converse are so on point. I have a pair of turquoise suede sneakers that I often wear to do just that! I’m new to IG and trying to grow my following & jewelry biz-so in addition to learning how to have great posts I have to deal with the testing side to make sure I don’t go into IG jail. Since Facebook now owns IG, I truly believe they are forcing businesses into paid posts to be seen. It’s all about the $$$.

  21. 05.15.2017 / 7:01 am

    What a nightmare! I appreciate all that you’ve shared with us. And how ’bout that great graphic tee shirt, too?

  22. 05.18.2017 / 5:32 pm

    Goodness, you know I love this look! It reminds of the one you wore last year that inspired me to try my chucks with a blazer. Oh, and that tee! Love. I recently learned about Shadowbanning and it is quite disheartening, especially for those of us who are trying to grow our accounts organically. Thanks for sharing even more info in your two posts. Also, thanks for linking up, Debbie.