You have a shadowban on your profile. And now what?
20.11.2022. / Social media management

Incredible but true: some people run their businesses solely on Instagram or Facebook. There are many of them, and they use social media as mini websites. But what happens when you get banned from accessing them?

We like to say that on social media, you're just a tenant. And who's going to stop the 'landlord' from kicking you out? Or here's an example: the building is under renovation (read: Instagram crashed for half a day), and you find yourself on the street. That's the first thing. And what about the second scenario? For one reason or another, you could face a ban from accessing your private or business profile, also known as 'shadowban.' And now what?

They say there's no use crying over spilled milk and that you should have been prepared in advance for any situation and had a backup in the form of a website. Which shouldn't actually be a backup but the primary source and pillar of your advertising and business. But, here we are.

So, what happens when something goes wrong, and those folks at Meta's platform shadowban your account? Not familiar with that term? Good for you because it means you've obviously never had a blocked account on social media. But in case such an event occurs, stay tuned.

Rules are there to be respected (in this case)

Have you ever read through and thoroughly followed the instructions for using any application during installation, or the commonly called Guidelines? Us neither, but it's good to know. Instagram, for instance, states that their social network is an authentic platform for inspiration and self-expression. Their words, not ours.

Their rules are clear: don't steal images, don't post offensive content and nudity, and that's about it. That's the short version. The longer version lists more points, but all platforms have more or less a common theme: Be supportive - respect others.

Social networks are actually an excellent channel for connecting, as well as for promotion and advertising, but there's also a part that is mostly beyond our focus. And these are the rules. Rules that you must not violate, not on your private profile, let alone on your business profile.

We'll shorten the essays you should read on social media and their guidelines, so here's a summary (thank us later, we love chocolate).

  • Images and videos - you can only post these if you are the author or have the author's permission, otherwise, you're violating intellectual property law
  • Posts - They should be suitable for all audiences (meaning, no nudity or the like)
  • Followers - Avoid 'artificially' creating connections; build your network naturally (or else, they say)

And the best part - operate within the boundaries of the law. We know, you probably haven't encountered these kinds of issues, but if you open Facebook Community Standards, you'll find a nice list of things you must not do, or they'll close your profile. They even nicely categorize everything into several groups to make it as clear as possible.

In short: mind your own business and don't wish harm upon anyone. Facebook not only divided its standards into 5-6 basics but also provides precise explanations for each topic, such as spam, with groups and subgroups. Unfortunately, no charts.

And what if you didn't follow the rules?

First, let's hope you've grasped the essential: social media isn't your property; it's just a platform you use. In case of anything - if you get blocked, reported (yes, that happens), if you forget your password, if the social network crashes - do you know what to do? Things happen; you need to be prepared for anything. So, roll up your sleeves and be ready for... waiting and bureaucracy.

The only constant in this world, no matter where you are, is that the sun will rise tomorrow, and bureaucracy is everywhere. And persistent.

If you have a ban on a social network, you can do three things:

  • wait for the ban to expire
  • appeal the decision
  • create a new profile  


And what if you didn't follow the rules - Instagram version

Instagram can ban you, or rather, apply their 'shadowban,' and you may not even realize it immediately. Except for the sudden drop in engagement because your posts will stop being visible to users, and you probably won't be able to comment. There's a good chance you won't even understand what happened, at least not right away.

The list of reasons why Instagram can ban you from your profile is quite long, and if you're doing some of these things, you have two options: either don't do them at all or be really smart about it.

Instagram can shadowban you for:

  • posting spam
  • using banned hashtags
  • posting too much content
  • excessive likes and comments
  • following/unfollowing profiles excessively
  • repeating the same hashtags too often
  • posting prohibited content

These are just some of the rules, and the rules are mostly the same on all social networks.

However, it's very easy to break the rules, especially if your desire or need is to have as many followers as possible. It's possible to 'quietly' build an army of followers. You might wonder how, but you probably already know. You can buy followers. This practice is not recommended at all, but believe us, there are many who do it.

On Instagram, you can also get banned due to content or inappropriate images, which is the most common occurrence. Posts related to political content or topics like supporting violence or terrorism, and the like, will usually automatically result in a ban.

That's why it's best to mind your own business, as they say, and focus on building your audience through quality and authentic content. Stick to organic follower growth through posts, ads, and boosting posts.

Instagram can ban you for a few hours up to a month, so avoid 'suspicious' activities. Instagram is very vigilant about its hashtags, so also avoid repeating the same hashtags, using prohibited hashtags (they have a whole list of them), as well as getting involved in topics unrelated to your business.

We have personally witnessed how challenging it can be to recover an Instagram profile after it's permanently banned or banned for inappropriate content. Often, clients don't even pursue this, and the individuals managing their account read some online article and think, 'Now I'll do follow/unfollow' to increase engagement. And what happens? It happens - You are blocked.

Purchased bots are a big no-no

However, purchased followers, no matter how gradually you acquire them, are bots and will never be able to replace real followers. Only when you buy them will you realize how absurd it all looks because, for example, you now have 10,336 followers, but your post has 10-15 likes. Why? Because until yesterday, you only had those 336 followers on your profile.

Although it's a well-known secret that many public figures, including influencers, buy their followers to achieve the desired numbers, bots are considered harmful. Bots, as artificially generated followers, will never like your posts or leave meaningful and relevant comments. They are more likely to leave spam comments.

Bots only inflate the number of followers, but provide no real benefit. While companies selling followers often claim that the followers you purchase are "real people" who will generate engagement, it's merely an illusion.

This practice is not explicitly prohibited by Instagram, but it is frowned upon, and Instagram regularly conducts purges. Buying followers is also viewed negatively by your genuine followers. There's a high chance that bots, with their comments, links, and lack of engagement, will do more harm than good and make your entire profile appear unprofessional.

And what if you haven't followed the rules - Facebook version

The Facebook team has its own policy, and for each violation, they extend your account ban. On Facebook, you can get banned for:

  • sending too many friend requests at once
  • joining too many groups at once
  • sending too many messages
  • sharing too many promotional links on a page
  • posting nudity or provocative content
  • hate speech, threats, or verbal attacks
  • spam or fake news
  • plagiarism
  • Typosquatting

Of course, there are many rules on Meta Platforms, but we've listed the most common ones that can result in temporary or even permanent bans.

We'll reiterate, there are many businesses that rely solely on social media for everything. In the event of any ban, temporary or even permanent, the loss of revenue in this case would be extremely significant. And it's uncertain whether they'll be allowed to open a new profile.

You need to know how to protect yourself and your business from malicious profiles (yes, they exist). Facebook advises that when you discover them, you should report and block them immediately.

Serial likers often get shadowbanned too. You know those people (there are some) who for some reason only systematically like posts or comments? Well, overdoing it can result in penalties and restricted access to your profile.

If you've been banned for any reason, you can do three things:

  • wait for the ban to expire
  • appeal
  • create a new profile

And finally, what can you do if you're banned

Yes, we've noticed that we repeated the same three things for Facebook as we did for Instagram. However, rest assured that if you do everything correctly, if you work honestly and transparently, build your business and your followers, everything will be fine. Otherwise, here are the next steps:

Wait for the ban to expire: If you receive a shadowban for the first time, know that it is temporary, and access to your profile will be restored in a few hours, a day, or several days. You should also know that for each subsequent violation, the ban will be extended further. Facebook is stricter in this regard, so they might ban you for a few days first, then for a week, and the next time, it could be for a month or permanently, depending on the severity of your offense. All that remains is to wait for the ban to expire if you wish.

File an appeal: However, if you don't want to wait, you can appeal. It is possible to file an appeal for the ban on both Instagram and Facebook if you believe you were banned unjustly. In any case, you can appeal, and you have the option to do so on your Facebook profile in the settings under the Support inbox, and on Instagram, you can file an appeal right on the pop-up notification on your profile.

Create a new profile: In the case of a permanent ban on your profile or if you lose access information, you will need to create a new profile. It is recommended to do this with different data, a different email, and phone number to avoid being "recognized." In any case, you will need to figure it out.

You can always contact the Meta platform support, and how long this procedure will take is uncertain. It could take a few hours, a few days, or they might even contact you in the dead of night. It can also be quite drawn out... and that's bureaucracy, even though it's American, it's still bureaucracy.

You should also know that on a business profile, they can penalize you for inappropriate content and ad images, meaning they won't allow you to post them. You should also know that they can permanently delete or block your account without any explanation, without any response to your appeals, requests, emails, and so on.

In any case, if it's not a very serious violation, you can recover your profile. If you've really messed it up (to put it nicely), be prepared to start over. You'll probably regret losing all the followers you've gathered, and you know how difficult that process is.

Keep in mind that social media is fickle, and just one post or wrong word can not only get you banned by Meta platforms but can also seriously damage your reputation with your followers (who aren't bots). And that's the most important thing, isn't it - your reputation.