Maybe you are a little naïve like me? You take a picture and happily upload to Instagram and start hashtagging away. Then one day you hear the words “Instagram shadowban” in a casual conversation. Whoa, what is that?!
Essentially, you can be partially banned on Instagram and not even know it. When this happens, users who are searching your hashtags will not see your posts. Although it is a bit of a mystery of what one does to be shadowbanned, there are some actions you should avoid, such as over-posting. Another activity to avoid is using banned hashtags. However, in my humble opinion, knowing which hashtags are excluded is a pain in the booty.
There are over 100,000 banned hashtags on Instagram. To complicate matters, a term that is banned today may not be banned tomorrow. Some of the forbidden hashtags are probably a little obvious—terms like #lingerie or #pornfood (What is that? Nevermind—I do not want to know). However, other tags that are currently banned on the app are less evident. For instance, #pushups and #beautyblogger are currently on the list. Even some holiday greetings are currently on the blacklist, like #happythanksgiving and #valentinesday. And for all you out there posting pics of your Easter weekend, avoid #easter. This one is disallowed too!
To complicate matters, there is no master list to keep you apprised of shut out hashtags. So what is a business to do? For hashtags that you and your business utilize often, the best way to find out if they are allowable is to test them yourself. Head over to the Instagram app and click on the explore button (magnifying glass) on the bottom menu bar. Type in your hashtag. If no results appear you know that hashtag is out. However, sometimes this is not enough. If you see results for the term you searched tap on it. You are then brought to the results screen. Page down. If you see continuous pictures you are in the safe zone. However, if you page down and see an warning/error message you know that your hashtag is on the current list of no-gos. Take a look:
You can see a list of 2018 banned hashtags courtesy of Preview App here. Leave a comment about the banned hashtag that surprised you the most! #happyhashtagging