We love using hashtags! In fact when I (Jennifer Stinnett) was interviewed on a podcast a few weeks ago, we had hashtag trivia! Even Wei Houng, the podcast host was surprised by how many hashtags you can put on YouTube! (Did YOU know you can hashtag in YouTube? Not many people do!)

With hashtag love comes hashtag responsibility. In fact, putting too many hashtags in posts can cause a lot of trouble for your posts and your profiles on some platforms. Instagram is one platform that takes hashtags seriously and if you use the wrong hashtag, you can be shadowbanned.

What is Shadowbannded?

The term shadowban has started floating around the social media scene more and more the past few years. The term itself however has been around for awhile. Shadowban, Shadowbanning and Shadowbanned is another term for “Stealth Banning”.

This type of “banning” can occur when a platform or forum (even Facebook posts) will hide your content from public view. You’ll still be able to see your comment or content – but the rest of the world will not. Thus, you may not even know your content isn’t being shown to others.

Here is what you WILL notice if you have been shadowbanned. You’ll create a photo, tweet or comment and then wonder, “Why isn’t anyone commenting, liking or sharing my photo (or comment)?”. This post, tweet or photo will have a drastically less amount of engagement than your other comments, tweets or photos. Some users will use other accounts to verify that the post is not being shown publicly because their other accounts will not see the content they posted and suspect of being shadowbanned.

Why Does Shadowbanning occur?

Shadowbanning can occur in different ways. One big way is by using inappropriate hashtags. Instagram and Twitter are platforms that will shadowban a post (or even an account) based on using a banned hashtag. Another way is leaving comments that another user or page user or platform owner may find offensive.

Facebook allows a form of this with their comments section. If you find a comment that a user has left to be “questionable” … you have the following choices:

— Delete and Ban a user
— Hide a comment
— Delete a comment

The “hide a comment” is a form of shadowbanning, you are hiding the comment from others, but the comment will still be visible to the person who left it.

Shadowbanning is put in place (and for the most part – unofficially) to reduce inappropriate content which is in violation of a platform’s terms of use.

Shadowbanning accounts can also occur if you use automated services like bots to generate followers, likes, and comments.

Stay tuned as we put together our next blog post about how to avoid getting shadowbanned and specific activities that will put you in shadowbanned status!

In the meantime – feel free to download our Hashtag Best Practices One Sheet here: