Instagram Shadowban and Instagress

Well, well, it’s been an interesting week in the Instagram world.

Instagress shut down

First off, Instagress, an incredibly popular Instagram tool, got shut down. And I mean shut down. It’s gone. If you’re unfamiliar with Instagress, I’ve written about it in the past. It’s a bot service that you pay for, and it allows you to automatically like, comment, and follow/unfollow certain hashtags. The reason why Instagrammers use it is because it automatically, and consistently, does your engagement job for you: you tell it what hashtags you’re into, and it’ll like posts with those hashtags and even comment on them.

Instagram is rife with this stuff. We all know that engagement and being part of the community is key to getting new followers on Instagram. But using tools like this is against Instagram’s TOS, so doing so could result in you losing your account.

Which is now moot, because Instagress was shut down. Here are some alternatives, and these ones are “legal” versions (in the eyes of Instagram and their TOS).

Instagram Shadowban & the Algorithm

So, we all know that Instagram has an algorithm. It’s pretty new, and we don’t know a lot about it, as it is, like Google’s and Facebook’s, a “black box” algorithm. But Shadowbanning appears to be part of it.

The idea of shadowbanning is to shut down spam accounts. It works on individual posts, not as much on your whole account. Basically, what it means is, a post that you use a specific hashtag on, if shadowbanned, will not show up in the search results for that hashtag, greatly cutting your views and engagement.

Here’s the sitch: many IGers, myself included, have done a lot of research on what hashtags work the best for them; which hashtags get the most engagement. In fact, one of the most popular blog posts on this site is The Best Hashtags for Food Instagrammers. My recommendation (and I’m not the only one) is to keep a list of your most popular hashtags on a note on your phone, and then copy/paste that into your Instagram posts. I’ve been doing this for years. However, it appears that this is exactly the thing that will get you shadowbanned.

Have you been shadowbanned? If you’ve noticed a drop in your engagements and likes, it’s possible. Click here to test your account.

I’m okay!

What to do if you’ve been shadowbanned

  • Try posting images with no hashtags for a while
  • Try posting images with completely different hashtags for a while
  • Take a break and don’t post anything for a while, but still maintain your account; comment and like other people’s posts
  • I have also read that this seems to affect business accounts more than it’s affecting personal accounts, so if you have a business account, consider switching back to a personal one
  • Don’t use bots like Instagress (obviously you can’t–but there are lots more out there like them)

Additional reading


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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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