I was Shadowbanned and Action Blocked On Instagram

Everyone heavily involved in Instagram was hit hard with the recent AI changes, and algorithm updates from Instagram in May 2019. People running social media agencies, digital marketing agencies, or having their own personal Instagram accounts most likely lost clients because of these updates, lost a lot of followers, saw a plummet in their accounts engagement, and cried (ok, well, we cried, a little). At Empire Life, we felt the hit all round. This led us to pursue and dive deeper into researching the AI and algorithm updates to further support our clients.

We continue to research all important social media updates to further guide our clients navigating growing their online empire, and their social media influence and online presence.

We will guide you in this article in pivoting around these new changes to continue to grow your Instagram community, and continue to serve your clients.

Common Instagram Lingo – What Each Means & How to Handle Each One

All Examples used in this article are hypothetical, if you truly desire to understand how to personally benefit your specific Instagram accounts, grow your accounts, scale your accounts, and start to make a bigger impact on Instagram contact the Empire Life Team here. We are here to support your growth on social media, your business growth, and support you in scaling your online empire.



A shadowbanned account is thought by Instagram to have gone against Instagram’s policies. Some reasons an account might be shadowbanned: perhaps they used a third party app, used the same hashtags repeatedly, always used the same hashtags in the caption, action of commenting over the limit per day, or did to many actions too fast.

When an account is shadowbanned, no one can search the account, almost no one will see your content, stories, or be able to search you by hashtag, and the account will not come up on anyone’s homepage. It’s as if your account becomes a ghost temporarily.

Shadowbanning usually lasts one month. You will know your account has been shadowbanned because you will see a huge drop in people starting to follow you daily, the amount of people liking your posts, the amount of people commenting on your posts, and your amount of story views will plummet. You might also see a few action blocks in conjunction with being shadowbanned.


The best action is to almost completely stop using the shadowbanned account. Example of this is if you were posting 3 times a day on your shadowbanned account, scale down to posting once a day. Another example, if you were following 30 people a day, scale down to following 5 people a day. Scale back your usage in every way. Do not put the same hashtags on every post. Put the hashtags in the comments section not in the caption of the post, this is to show you are not a bot or a third party app.

Third-Party Apps 

This is any app that connects to Instagram via a computer, server, or other device besides your usual device or IP address (i.e. home IP address or mobile IP address). This can throw a red flag to Instagram because the third party app is connecting to your Instagram from another IP address i.e. from another device, in another city/ country different from your usual connection.

For example, a third party app server might be based in Houston, Texas running calls to your Instagram, and you login to your Instagram from your phone in Austin, Texas. Although, these are in the same state, it will be running on two different IP addresses, throwing a red flag to Instagram’s AI software. Then when the Houston, Texas server starts running a lot of actions on your Instagram, the account will most likely be temporarily shadowbanned, action blocked, or the ‘change your password, you may have shared you password with a third party app. This is against Instagram’s policies and guidelines,’ message pops up forcing you to change your password on Instagram. Third party apps are often utilized to gain more likes, followers, unfollow, push out content, and plan out content.


If you are going to use third-party apps there are some tips to prevent being shadowbanned or action blocked. The first one is to not use an inexpensive app without customer service and without you having access to someone to explain how the tech works in their app, and without someone watching out for your account knowledgeable in how the tech works. An experienced software developer, as I am, will be able to set up the third party app to have a server close to your usual location. We utilize multiple servers and proxies for media, social media, and web for our clients. As to not draw attention to your account. Also, an experienced digital marketer, as I am too, and other teammates on the Empire Life Team will understand the limits, and restrictions for each action on Instagram. An inexpensive application will not most likely be able to tell you where the server is located, or help you to be connected to one that is close to you, the limits on each action and what is recommended for the limits, and why you got action blocked.

Currently I recommend to primarily utilize a third party app, if you must, to plan out your content, and pump out your content to multiple social media platforms.

Please contact Empire Life here if you want us to support you on this, we guide you in planning out your content, pumping out your content, in the best authentic way, to prevent your account from being shadowbanned or action blocked.


This is when an account cannot do the following actions – post, like, comment, follow, and unfollow. The only actions the account will be able to do is – stories, and sending direct messages. The Insta-Jail usually lasts one week. The message that pops up telling you the action is blocked will mention when the action block will be lifted. The action blocks usually occur because an account has shared their password with a third-party app. It can also occur from being active in pod groups.


The only two things an Instagram user has on their side when in Insta-Jail is dm-ing (sending direct messages) and publishing stories. When I was put in Insta-Jail for one week I did a lot of stories and continued to reach out to my community in Dm’s. I did a load of stories, and at least 1-2 of them everyday was particularly on updating my community of how I might be less active because I was in ‘Insta-Jail’, unable to post, like, follow, or comment. This serves as a great habit to get into doing more stories. Stories currently are having a high conversion rate. When you do your stories keep in mind to tag a location, put one hashtag, and mention people (tag them) when possible, all of these increase engagement.

Action Blocks 

Action blocks are when a particular action is blocked. A Instagram user can do multiple actions except those action blocks and they usually last about two weeks to one month.


To handle being action blocked from a particular action, start doing all the actions a little slower. Scale down your actions to have a little more time in between each one.

Pod/ Engagement Groups 

These are large to small group of people with a similar interest. The main intention is to support everyone’s increase in organic Instagram engagement.


Instagram does not favor engagement groups. When you copy a link from your post and share it anywhere, make sure to delete from the ‘?’ on, the last part of the link will track the link. Users have been put in ‘Insta-Jail’ for being in engagement groups, when one removes this last part of the link it makes it more safe to share out, without the tracker.


From our research we have come to a few conclusions. Instagram has launched this new AI software in May 2019, to detect action limits surpassed (inauthentic activity), and third party application usage of accounts. The reasons we discovered as to why Instagram wants to cut down on third party apps, bots, and engagement groups is to increase authentic engagement.

Instagram’s main source of revenue comes from paid marketing ads. Paid advertising on Instagram does better when there are truly engaged users on the platform. With non truly authentic and engaged Instagram users with the third party apps are doing actions, not the actual user, therefore the numbers of active users would be affected. With these numbers being affected the paid advertising would not be as effective in the amount of active authentic users seeing and engaging with them.

To increase your organic engagement on Instagram, online, and scale your online empire contact Empire Life to learn more here, on Instagram, or LinkedIN.

“We continue to research all important social media & tech updates to further guide our clients navigating growing their online empire, and their social media influence and online presence.”

our Recent blogs

Check Out The Most Recent Blogs.

Let’s scale your online empire.


Say Hello!

Hi There! We will love to hear from you! Come Find Us on social and dm us!