Why are my Instagram hashtags bugged?
The Instagram ShadowBan
A shadowban is usually a ban towards a toxic user in such a way that the user doesn’t know they are banned. On Reddit, Twitter, and even Facebook there have been cases where a user was able to see their content, but anyone else wasn’t. On Instagram this happens in the hashtags. Your account, without your knowledge, is changed and then acts as if it was a private account, no matter what you change your personal setting to.
Your posts don’t have any likes?
I have experimented quite a lot with Instagram. It is a great medium to share visual content; perfect for artists! Read more here: What is Instagram? When you post a new picture or video on instagram, like on any other social media platform, you use hashtags. People who search for the hashtag will find your post! If you have broken some rules or your account was simply blacklisted for whatever reason (keep reading to find out what I found in my research), your hashtags won’t be searchable. Only you and your current followers will be able to search for your posts, so anybody that is not following you won’t be able to see your posts, let alone like them.
Your follower rate has decreased all of a sudden?
For some accounts, posting quality content is the way they gain followers. A potential follower will see your post when they search for a hashtag, click on your profile, see that you have an amazing feed and follow you. Your decrease in followers is caused by the fact that nobody can see your posts other than yourself and current followers. Get the hint already?
The Shadowban symptom
- Make a new post, using a hashtag that is not very popular. We used #escapewithart when we tested our account.
- Log into another account, or ask someone to help you.
- HERE IS THE TRICK: The helping account must not be following the account that might be shadowbanned.
- Search for the hashtag you used when uploading your image. The hashtag should have a count of public posts on the top right side. Your post is registered in the post count but does not appear in the feed.
- If your post is there when you search for the hashtag from a different account that doesn’t follow your main one, then you’re fine. If it’s not, that means you’re shadowbanned.
There are multiple causes why your instagram was the target for such a ban. The social media platform has recently updated their algorithms to a much tighter security against bots and mass follow/unfollowers. To further prove my point, most of the apps on the play store that were designed to track unfollowers and statistics for your profile don’t work anymore.
- Have you recently used a bot/application to optimize your follower/following ratio?
- Have you recently used some hashtags that might be blacklisted? Usually swear words.
- Have you recently went on a liking/following spree and acted like a automated application?
- Have you used the same set of hash tags for a lot of your photos?
Unfortunately, after a long process of trial and error I haven’t discovered anything. I tried tricking instagram by using a proxy and logging from a different country in order to reset my account. I tried deactivating my account for over a week. I tried contacting IG HeadQuarters by email, phone and twitter, no reply. I tried connecting my instagram to facebook and posting from there. I tried deactivating any affiliated applications I ever connected to my Instagram. Nothing works.
So therefore, I invite you all to comment below and share any discoveries you have. Contact us at email@example.com with any technical inquiries or advice.
Maybe together we will be able to discover more about the dreadful instagram shadowban.
P.S: Due to heavy experimentation with our instagram account, we too have been shadowbanned. Seeing that there is no other way than closing our account down, we re-opened. Make sure you give us a visit at our new instagram page.
UPDATE (07.03.2017): We were told to report that our account was hacked and go through the process of resetting our account in order for the shadowban to be lifted. We contacted support, reported that our email and account got hacked, talked to someone from Instagram Support and they helped us recover our password and account.
When I got the account back, I asked them why our hashtags are not working and they said their department can’t help us with anything other than hacked accounts, and directed us to their support page.
UPDATE (30.03.2017): After many replies and emails from people like you, we came to the conclusion that reporting the account as hacked doesn’t help! We do not recommend doing it. The only thing it does as mentioned before; it allows you to get in direct contact with Instagram Support. On the other hand, the department that will contact you only deals with hacked accounts and they WILL NOT fix your shadowban. However, there have been multiple reports that the shadowban has been lifted after you let your account inactive for a while.
UPDATE (16.05.2017): New post about this matter!