Update September 17, 2017:
Folks! Over the last 24 hours I had been hearing that shadowbans were being lifted. People all over the Instagram universe were celebrating. This morning, a friend of mine texted saying that hers, too, had been lifted. Apparently, precisely two weeks nearly to the hour after you were asked to verify, it’s lifted. I had already posted earlier this morning and as of that point talking to her, I was still banned. I was a little sad as I frantically tried to remember exactly what day and time I had verified. I knew it was afternoon and I was pretty sure it was a Sunday.
What do you know, today, Sunday afternoon at 1:30 my shadowban has been lifted! This is great, great, great news. So keep your head up everyone and give it two weeks after you were asked to verify, hopefully :::fingers crossed::: it will be lifted for you too. I have lost 800 followers in all of it, but honestly I don’t even think I’m upset about that part. It sucks sure, but if most of them were bots being cleaned out? Sayonara, I don’t mind.
Now…as for Instagram? You can still kind of bite it. You have had your users up in arms over the last few weeks, all of us forming these underground, whispering societies of anxiety. The least you could have done was put out something, anything to let us know that this was temporary. It affected people’s businesses and we were left in the dark. (I even heard some people baked cookies and brownies and took them to headquarters. They were turned away.) Not cool, Instagram. Not cool.
Dear Instagram…what gives?
I started my travel Instagram account @samanthas_suitcase about seven months ago. I was wide-eyed and completely naive about the complex world you have created. I had a travel blog but I wanted something more, a better platform, to share my travel photos with the rest of the world (or at least anyone who’d want to look at them). I remember in 2016 after Facebook bought you, people were a bit worried on the direction you’d head…and all our fears seem to keep becoming reality. At that time, I only had my personal account which is nothing but selfies, memes, and my cat. I had never even used a hashtag because what was the point?
Then, shortly after you became Facebook’s bitch, the algorithm changed from chronological to what some robot technology “thinks” I want to see instead. Just as a simple selfie poster and enjoyer of scrolling, I was pretty mad at this change. What if I missed things? Needless to say I was not happy with you for about a week, then quickly got over it because oh well.
Fast forward to February 2017 and I decided to start my travel account. I had no idea what I was doing (don’t even think about scrolling to the bottom of my feed – yikes), but I began to take you very seriously and devoured article after article on how to grow on your platform. I refused to partake in the unspoken no-no of using bots. I would grow organically or not at all and I remain that way today.
Recently, however, you have been doing nothing but infuriating your users. People are being shadowbanned for zero reason, making us verify our accounts with a security code (with no explanation), and constantly tweaking things that seem to do nothing but hurt the little guys. This is on top of having the absolute worst customer service on earth. You are impossible to reach, never respond to inquiries and even if we report problems time and time again, nothing is resolved.
This recent verify-with-a-security-code is pushing your users over the edge. Hundreds if not thousands (probably more but my googling only goes so far) of people did this and immediately their next post(s) are not showing in hashtags, myself included. My follower count is continuously ticking down, something that has never happened before (I always lose, everyone does, bot cleaning is always a good thing that I appreciate). Without showing in hashtags, no one can find me and follow me if they like my content. So I gain very few, lose the normal amount = overall loss. Is this a glitch? I feel like no. Shadowbanning has been an issue for months and sure some people violate terms by using bots so they deserve it. But those of us (who is most of us) who do nothing wrong and are trying to grow our businesses correctly and organically are starting to really and truly hate you. We aren’t stupid. We know you are pushing for us to pay for sponsored posts. Everyone wants to make money, sure, but all you’re doing is aggravating your users (unless you have 100k+) and making us very unhappy to be using you. If you push too far, people are going to start looking for an alternative and will jump ship on the first thing that looks cool and new and *gasp* may have a chronological option and the hashtags working properly.
It seems like every couple months something happens on your inside and then it’s all scared whispers about what is happening with their feed and following and engagement like we are all living in Orwell’s 1984.
Get your shit together, Instagram, you have an angry horde of people on your hands and the angry horde seems to think that you don’t care about them at all. Do you?
xoxo Sam (and everyone else)