Is Shadow Banning a real thing on Instagram?

content instagram Nov 22, 2021

Is shadow banning on Instagram real? This is something we get a LOT of questions on from non-profits, charities and causes when they’re looking to build their Instagram audience.

The truth is, Instagram has often been accused of ‘shadow banning’ or secretly silencing an account.

In a recent announcement, Instagram said:


“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. 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. That’s never our intention, and we’re working hard on improvements here. We also manage millions of reports a day, which means making a mistake on even a small percentage of those reports affects thousands of people.”


The truth is not every post is going to get the same number of likes, comments or interactions because the dozen or so algorithms and signals at play will impact each post’s reach differently.

It’s also true that most of your followers won’t see a post you share, because up to half of your audience isn’t looking at their feed. They also might not visit at the right time to catch your most recent post. This does not mean you have been shadow banned.

Actually, what most Instagram users call ‘shadow banning’ is the effect that comes from breaking Instagram’s rules. If you post content against Instagram’s rules, that could be offensive, could be considered to be misinformation – Instagram will react accordingly and show your content to fewer people.

For example, be cautious about how you mention issues like COVID-19 that right now are subject to close scrutiny.

If you’re a not-for-profit, charity or cause and your Instagram reach has decreased and you are NOT breaking Instagram’s rules, then you have likely not been shadow banned. It is more likely you need to learn more about how the Instagram algorithm works and optimise your Instagram strategy to improve your reach in your target market.

Need help with Instagram? Get in touch with us via our contact page. We can talk you through our options to audit your account, provide mentorship or training. You can also book a free call just to have a chat.

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