Have you heard about Instagram Shadowban and How To Avoid it Happening?

Instagram Shadowban

The term ‘Shadowban’ was completely unknown before 2017 until it was coined by a photographer who claimed that in certain hashtag searches, many of his images failed to appear. Further researches showed that many other photographers faced the same problem. There were some instances where different content showed up for the same hashtag search when done by different people or even by the same people but at a different time.

For the general public, it was unclear that an algorithmic sort was applied to the results of hashtag search. Hence, there was nothing like a shadowban on any of the accounts using any of the hashtags.

It was unfortunate enough that people started linking the term for every negative result on Instagram, be it decrease in reach or engagement or may be restrictions on accounts. An interesting point to note here is that a very important role is played by the the Instagram algorithm in this regard. Hence Shadowban again cannot be blamed here.

So here is a list of activities you need to avoid which results in reduced visibility on Instagram

1: Respect Follow and Unfollow Boundaries

Instagram puts no limit on the number of people that can follow your account regardless of the fact that you are operating a personal account or a business one. But it limits the number of accounts you can follow to 7500 which unquestionably is a huge number. In case you hit that limit, all you need to do is unfollow a few accounts in order to follow some new ones. For an average user, this figure is large enough to make it difficult for him to successfully interact with that lot or manage such amount of content.

Further, subject to a few exceptions Instagram imposes strict limits on the number of followings (both ways) within a certain time period. Newer accounts generally face lower limits. The limit you can reach may also depend upon the number of your followers.

Although there are a lot of conflicting data regarding the limits as per various sources, but it is most likely to be 30 follows per hour and a total of 800 follows per day. Despite the fact that there might be a few exceptions to this limit, you need to really be aware because pushing these limits might put you at a risk of exceeding allowances and your account would face restriction for a period of at least 24 hours.

2: Limit Likes to 350 per Hour

The number of likes you can perform is again restricted to 350 per hour which approximately can be understood as 6 likes per minute or 1 like in every 10 seconds. This itself explains that such an activity is generally not possible for an average user unless he is using an automated tool to facilitate engagement, and it is important to note here that such tools violate Instagram’s terms of use.

Exceeding this limit would result in your account being flagged for spam activity followed by restricting your account for a minimum of 24 hours. Repeated violations would result in restriction of account for a longer duration each time and eventually permanent disablement of account.

Moving further, the limit on the number of comments per day is 100 subject to conflicting sources of information. In addition to this limit, copying and pasting same generic comment on multiple posts is also restricted. Not more than 5 people can be @mentioned in an individual comment and the same comment cannot be posted repeatedly.

3: Limit Group Direct Messages to 15 Recipients

Direct messages on Instagram too are subject to restrictions. The character limit for each message is further limited to 500 and can be sent to a single user or a group of not more than 15 people. If you need to share more information, you may send that message and continue typing in an additional message.

4: Cap Hashtags at 30 per Post

The number of hashtags on a post is further capped to 30. The number of hashtags exceeding this limit won’t be posted on the upload.

People might hoodwink this restriction by placing first 30 hashtags in the caption and another 30 hashtags in the comment section. This might be considered as a remarkable thought process on their behalf, but mind you, befooling Instagram is not that simple. The hashtags used in the comment section after the allowed 30 ones won’t show up in any of the searches.

5: Tag No More Than 20 Users per Post

While uploading your Instagram post, a maximum of 20 people can be tagged either through ‘Tag People’ function or viz a tag while editing an already published post.

However, as far as the Instagram story is concerned, tagging is again restricted to as good as 10 people and not more than that.


Please do not consider these restrictions as your cheat sheet for manipulations, rather treat them as helpful guide. Read More to keep yourself aligned with digital marketing world’s regulations.

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