Why Using Hashtags on Instagram Might Actually Hurt You

Remember when we told you the secrets of how the Instagram-famous get so many followers and likes?

Well, that all might be changing.

It’s all because of shadow-banning. Shadow-banning is the the theory that Instagram was blocking people’s photos from being viewed under the hashtags that they’ve used repeatedly. No one is sure if shadow-banning actually exists, but bloggers are quaking in their Louboutins because of it. We’re pretty positive it’s a real thing.

Mic‘s Taylor Lorenz talked to multiple users who saw insane drops in engagement, and also pointed out a since-deleted Facebook post where the company acknowledged the shadow-banning rumors.

READ ALSO: This 16-Year-Old Photog Documents the Lives of Malibu Rich Kids

The company said it “understands users have experienced issues with Instagram’s hashtag search that caused posts not to be surfaced.”

They then offered this “helpful” advice:

“When developing content, we recommend focusing on your business objective or goal rather than hashtags.”

Kind of savage, Facebook!

READ ALSO: How to Tell if a Guy’s Not Feeling it Anymore

Translation: stop thirsting for likes and followers and just post cool shit, then the likes will follow.

Kiki Von Glinow of HuffPost explained in her Facebook group #DoinItForTheInsta that the reason for the bans is to make Instagram less spammy, and the bans primarily work against people who hashtag unrelated things on their selfies. You know, like when you search #Chanel to see the new collection and you end up seeing landscape shots of NYC on some rando accounts.

Another surefire way to get banned is if you’re one of those people who copy and pastes the same hashtags on every single post. Whoops.

You can check this site to see if you’re shadow banned, but it’s unclear how reliable it is and you might fare better just checking the Explore page for a specific hashtag and seeing if your post shows up.

READ ALSO: You Can Finally Hide Your Off-Brand Instagram Pics Without Deleting Them

This news begs the question: is the new way to Insta-fame not being thirsty?

Well, yes and no. There will always be the people who achieve tons of followers from just being cool and posting cool shit, but they’re few and far between. Unfortunately, other “hacks” to growing followers are also rumored to hurt rather than help engagement, like Instagram pods.

In fact, the people Mic interviewed say the best method to avoid the pain of shadow-banning is to chill out on your Insta-game by posting less and using less hashtags.

Tragic, guess your career as an influencer is even further away than you had hoped. Better luck next time!

Gimme More POP

Do You Like?

Some things are only found on Facebook. Don't miss out.