Suddenly Losing Instagram Followers? Here’s Why

Have you found yourself constantly refreshing the #instagramdown hashtag on Twitter, purely in the hope to find a solution for why you’re suddenly losing Instagram followers?

Well if so then let me tell you the bad news; there’s nothing wrong with the Instagram servers.

In this post, I will explain why you might be experiencing a sudden drop in your daily follower count, and how to rectify the situation going forward.

The likely culprit for why you’re losing Instagram followers all of a sudden, especially when you’re normally gaining new followers every day, is because you may have been ‘shadow banned’ by the social media platform.

A shadow ban will effectively prevent your content from being shown under the respective hashtags that have been used in the post’s captions (or comments section).

To make things worse, there is no official warning when you have been shadow banned, although the sudden drop in followers should be a red flag.

The best way to spot whether you have been shadow banned or not is to search through a few of the hashtags that have been used in your latest posts, and see whether your posts show up in the feed for that hashtag at all.

This may be easier to do if you’ve used an obscure hashtag, as there will be fewer posts to sift through. Needless to say though, this should be checked by a second account just to be certain.

Avoid the headache by checking out this post I wrote on how to always beat the Instagram algorithm, which promotes growing your account the authentic way – as well as teaching you how the algorithm works!

My Instagram account, @unreal.tattoos suddenly started losing Instagram followers because of the shadow ban
Here is a screenshot of the Instagram insights for my account @unreal.tattoos. Prior to the shadow ban, the account was gaining 500-1,000 new followers per day. After the shadow ban it suddenly started losing 25-100 Instagram followers a day.

What can cause a shadow ban?

Instagram has dispelled the notion that there is an official shadow ban, however, we all know that there definitely is one.

From my experience of growing various Instagram accounts over the past several years, I can confirm that I have had my own experience with the said account restrictions, and it can be quite demoralising as there’s no explanation from Instagram as to why it may have happened.

That being said though, my experience has taught me that there are multiple reasons why you can be shadow banned on Instagram. Some are more obvious than others, and they can all be avoided.

Without further ado, here are some of the reasons why your account might be restricted:

Using bots

Instagram has really been clamping down recently on users who are abusing the platform, especially when they’re using bots to automate not only their content but their engagement too.

If you’ve been using the platform for long enough, you will be aware of the now frowned-upon growth strategy called the ‘Follow/Unfollow method’.

Many users were using bots to automate this method, where they would follow an account in an attempt to have them follow them back, before unfollowing them after a few days regardless.

This process would be automated 24/7, and after a few years of success – Instagram had enough.

Not only has the social media platform penalised offenders with shadow bans, but they have also gone as far as banning certain users from the platform indefinitely.

The Follow/Unfollow method is just one of the ways that a bot can automate your Instagram tasks, however, all of them have come under huge scrutiny in the past year or so.

If you’re thinking about using bots to further your Instagram account growth, then I would highly recommend that you avoid doing so. As an alternative, if you’re looking to schedule your Instagram posts in advance then you can use Instagram-approved services such as Buffer.

Want to know when the optimal time to post on Instagram is, and how often you should be doing so? Check out this post to find out and achieve peak engagement.

Repetitive hashtags

This point might be a strange one, but you can have your account restricted by Instagram if you tend to use the same hashtags over and over again.

The reason being is that the repetitive use of hashtags can be seen as a spam tactic, which could easily be done with the use of a bot, whereby you would schedule 100’s of posts in advance – all with the exact same hashtags – and then just sit back and let the followers swarm in.

Obviously, Instagram wants to keep the platform as socially engaging as possible, so they’ll penalise any accounts that appear to be doing anything that a bot might do.

To avoid getting yourself shadow banned for the repetitive use of hashtags, it goes without saying that you should mix up your hashtags regularly.

The best way to do this is to use hashtags that are relevant to the content that you’re posting, especially as Instagram is getting smarter by the day.

Don’t be surprised that Instagram’s algorithm can detect the content within an image or video, and scan your captions and hashtags for relevancy at the same time, so you probably shouldn’t be spamming the hashtag #lovethesausage unless you’re tucking into a German Bratwurst.

Reported content

I believe that this was the main reason as to why my @unreal.tattoos account (above) received its shadow ban recently, as I had posted an image of some women on the beach in bikinis, who were covered in large tattoos.

You’ll have to trust me when I say that there was nothing outrageous on show and that it was quite a normal post for a tattoo fan-page to share (especially on Instagram), however, I did receive a warning from Instagram that the said post had been reported and subsequently removed for “Nudity or Pornography”. Whaaat?!

I was honestly surprised as it was the sort of image you see in every other post on your Instagram feed, however, it was no big deal to me, I accepted it and moved on.

It was only a few days later though that I noticed that not only were my posts receiving less engagement, I was also losing followers too.

After searching through each hashtag, looking for my posts, I concluded that I had in fact been shadow banned only a few days after that reported post had been taken down.

Since then I have been overly strict on the content that I post on my Instagram accounts, and am hoping that it’s the last time I get restricted!

Losing Followers?

Struggling to grow? Tried everything? Ready to give up?

How to remove the shadow ban

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but I haven’t yet mentioned that the shadow ban was permanent – and that’s because it isn’t.

Luckily for you, the shadow ban can be reversed, provided that you avoid making the previously mentioned mistakes, as well as first taking a break from Instagram altogether.

When I encountered my shadow ban, I decided to take a break from the platform for a week or two just to get myself back into Instagram’s good books. When I returned, I continued posting great content however this time with a closer eye on what I can’t post.

If I ever questioned whether I should post a certain image or video; then it was an automatic ‘No’ for me.

You can find more information on the Instagram shadow ban in this post!

I reversed the shadow ban for my Instagram account @unreal.tattoos, after it was suddenly losing followers the week prior.
I managed to turn my fortunes around with @unreal.tattoos and reverse the shadow ban.

As you can see from the above example, my brief break away from Instagram, coupled with the high quality of content when I returned, meant that my account was now being shown on the respective hashtags again.

After a few days I am starting to see an average of 300 new (net) followers per day, which is still below the 500-1,000 average that I was getting before, but it is certainly better than losing 100 followers on Instagram per day!

If you really want to start growing your Instagram account the authentic way, then you should seriously consider trying out Gary Vaynerchuk’s ‘$1.80 Strategy’, and begin gaining new, targeted followers today!


If your Instagram is suddenly losing followers, then it’s probably because you’ve been hit by the infamous ‘shadow ban’.

This can be because you’ve been using unauthorised software, spamming (irrelevant) hashtags or posting controversial content.

To rectify the ban, it’s best to take a break before the platform and then avoid making the aforementioned mistakes going forward.

Do you have any questions or feedback on this post? If so, let me know in the comment section below!

Have you found yourself constantly refreshing the #instagramdown hashtag on Twitter, purely in hope to find a solution for why you're suddenly losing Instagram followers? Well if so then let me tell you the bad news; there's nothing wrong with the Instagram servers. In this post I will explain why you might be experiencing a sudden drop in your daily follower count, and how to rectify the situation going forward. #instagram #social #media #marketing #followers #likes #comments #grow
Did you find this post on why you’re losing Instagram followers useful? If so, I would be very grateful if you could pin this image on Pinterest!

This Post Has 134 Comments

  1. A_Me

    This post helped me so much! Thank you

    1. Mike Walters

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad the post was of good use to you 🙂

      1. Rich Fasanello

        When I take the break do you recommend I not even follow new followers???

        1. Mike Walters

          Unfortunately, yes. It’s best practice to not perform any actions during this period, including following new followers. If all goes well though, you should be back up and running in no time!

          1. Chris Savio

            Hey Mike, my Instagram account had almost 1823 followers and now my followers are dropping and I’m having 1792 followers. Every time I open my Instagram the followers are dropping 😭😭😭. Pls if you have any information regarding why my followers are dropping pls help me out.

          2. Mike Walters

            Hey Chris, this is very common and could be due to a number of reasons. To really figure out what’s happening with your account I would need to perform a detailed account audit. You can order one here…

          3. Jason

            Can i still post via facebook creator?

          4. Mike Walters

            I would avoid it for a few days, perhaps just schedule your posts for later

        2. Iolanda

          Hi i created an instagram accoount a few days Ago i had 10 followers and nome i have 7 post poetry inspired by artist as Lauv and Billie Eilish i identify them an put at least 2 hashtags with their names is that the Issue my account is Ash BillFinn Jr 6 please check my account how Should i proceed?

          1. Mike Walters

            Hey, it’s too early to say really as you’ve only just created your account. First, you need to identify exactly who your ideal follower is and then you need to ask yourself “Why should they follow me?”. Once you’ve got that down, you can start creating content that best serves them. Once you’ve got at least 9 great posts that best reflects who you are and who you create content for, you can start engaging with your ideal customers and creating conversation with them (on their posts). Hope this helps

      2. Jimmy

        So I have a question, I’m losing followers idk if it’s the promotion or branded, I accidentally activated that and I’m trying to switching off to my personal account again. I’ve checked to see who unfollowed me but it says 0. What do i have to do?

        1. Mike Walters

          Hey Jimmy, I shouldn’t think that either of those would cause a loss of followers, so it must be something more than that. If you would like me to take a look at your account for you, you can order an Instagram account audit here…

      3. Tanish singh

        Hey mike i am tanish singh from india my Instagram handle is tanishsinghmusic and i am consistent with my content i even post 2 posts sometimes but i am losing followers every single day please help me and connect with me 😖🙏

        1. Mike Walters

          Hey Tanish, you have a great voice! Feel free to check out my Instagram account audit to have me review your account, find out why you’re losing followers and start growing a following of raving fans!

    2. John

      Thanks Mike for this article, i lost followers just now and I’ve understood the reason I was “banned ” and repeating hashtags could be the reason. Ooh man! 100 followers it’s a lot to grow and lose in a second!

      1. Mike Walters

        It certainly is John. Let me know how you get on!

  2. Darcy

    Do I need to stay off Instagram completely? Can I still message and like photos etc?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Darcy, my advice would be Yes. Stay off Instagram completely during this timeframe and spend this time doing something productive. After the time is up, return to Instagram and take it slow with the number of actions. Hope this helps 🙂

      1. Hans

        Hello Mike,
        Great piece… I have but a small account and it does not appear to have been shadow banned… But where I was steadily gaining… I have started slowly losing…. The only difference is that I have stopped going into my daily likes and liking everyone back… Which was becoming too time consuming for me, with work back on since lockdown is almost over where I am…. Also I have topped out my following at 7500 and have only 3500 approx followers. Any ideas or comments would be greatly appreciated.

        1. Mike Walters

          Hello Hans, thank you for reaching out. Honestly, there’s no reason for you to be following 7,500 people and that alone is enough reason for people to avoid your account. You should only be following people that you want to see more of. When I see that you’re following 7,500 people that just tells me that you’re looking to get a follow back, and that’s the wrong mentality to have. There may be more to it than just this though so if you need me to review your account in more detail, you can arrange this here…

  3. Michelle

    This is so helpful! Thank you!

    1. Mike Walters

      Thank you Michelle, happy to help!

  4. Rubaiya

    Who aren’t follow me…they ate also able to see my post under the hashtag I’m used….but ig continuously removed my followers…. Why? is there any other way to check that that I’m shadow ban or not ??? Please help me…

    1. Mike Walters

      If people are able to find your content through your hashtags, then that suggests that you are not shadow-banned. Instagram doesn’t remove followers, it’s the followers that choose to remove themselves. This could be for a variety of reasons but more often than not it’s either because your content isn’t good enough or it’s no longer relevant to them.

  5. Marcus

    Can I temporarily deactivate my account for 2 weeks and will the shadowbanned disapear or its have to be still activated?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Marcus, I’ll be honest and say that I’m not sure! I would think that it’s purely a timing issue and assume that you can deactivate the account during this time – although I’m not sure that you need to stretch to those measures.

  6. Shawn

    Any inside on why someone would lose 800 followers in 1 day? When normally we have been very steady with gaining or losing followers.

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Shawn. Wow, 800 seems like a lot to lose in one day… unless you’ve got millions of followers of course. Although it does depend on the size of the account, it might be a case that Instagram has just done a general cleanup of fake accounts/bots and everyone’s taken the hit – not just you!

      1. Shawn

        Hey Mike, we wish we had millions of followers! We are at about 25k. Was just in shock and trying to find some justification to the drop as indeed it allot.

        1. Mike Walters

          Hey Shawn, yea that is weird. Unless you posted something that was hugely controversial or offensive, then I would suggest that it was just Instagram doing a cleanup.

  7. Misha

    Hello. It is possible that I’ ve been shadow banned because reporting other accounts with inpropriate content? I don’t find the other explanation… I’ve lost 100 follower in a day… Thanks for your opinion!

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello Misha. Hmm, I mean I wouldn’t think so however if you were doing it constantly then who knows. Hopefully, you’re only reporting content that should be reported! Either way, I should think that your answer lies elsewhere. Is there anything else that you have (or haven’t) done that could cause this drop in followers?

  8. Julian

    Hey! I found your post quite useful. It’s been like a year or so since I’ve been losing followers, at a quite interesting rate; for example, in april 2020 i used to have almost 97k, now i’m down to 85k and dropping everyday. I just checked insights on my account and it seems to go something like this: every day, if I gain let’s say 55 followers, I lose around 100. I gain 35, I lose around 70. I lose 2 times the number I gain. It’s super weird. But my posts do appear on hashtags (i searched from another account). What do you think it is? Should I leave the account alone for a couple weeks? Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Julian, thank you for reaching out. If you can see your posts then I see no reason to leave it for two weeks, in fact, I think that would only make it worse. I’m thinking that bots are following you and then unfollowing you a day or two later. Your main issue is that you’re not gaining followers quick enough, as 35-55 a day is really low for an account of that size. If you would like some guidance on how to revive your account then we can arrange for an account audit. Just let me know 🙂

      1. Jacori Robinson

        Hi Mike how could I possibly get an account audit from you?

  9. Jes

    Can you get those followers back that were lost? I lost 300 in a matter of hours…

    1. Mike Walters

      I’m afraid not. What I will say though is that if someone unfollows you then it means that they weren’t the right fit for your content – which could be seen as a good thing.

  10. Orla


    I am Enquiring why my account would drop 50 followers in one day, then a few hours later go back up to + 50, then go back to -50 again today. I also got a spam of Arabic followers before this where I had to manually remove myself yesterday which where all gone and I changed my password and username . I checked my recent activity and it’s been no on but my own activity through my account . I am confused why this would happen. Any advice ?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Orla! That’s a strange one but I would suggest that there is one individual or organization behind those Arabic accounts, and that they’ve set it up so that the accounts follow (and engage with) accounts that meet a certain criteria. My guess is that your account meets that description. I wouldn’t waste your time removing them all though. Just focus on creating great, valuable content.

  11. Weronika

    That is a very useful post, thank you! I’ve been experiencing a significant drop in likes on my 25k account, from around 2k per post, with 5-10k views from hashtags, to 100 likes per post and no views from hashtags. It’s an account with my own art, so the quality is steady… do you have any idea what could cause such a drop? I was wondering if Instagram didn’t change something about consistency of style/ color palettes/ etc. But this would be so limiting for artists accounts! Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello Weronika. That does seem to be a lot to lose per post. I’d be interested to check out your account to see what the problem might be. It would be hard for me to guess without seeing the proof for myself

  12. Kate

    Hello, this post was really helpful
    For a while now, I’ve been loosing followers, I’m on 29.3k now, if i gain 40 followers, I’d check and find out that about 40 followers unfollowed me and this has been happening for some time now. Though I was actually unfollowing people cause I wanted to reduce the amount of people that I followed and I was actually following the 2s rule while unfollowing them, I didn’t know it will lead to my account loosing followers, what do u suggest I do? Should I temporarily disable the account and come back after a week or I should just leave the account logged in but not open the app for a week or so

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello Kate. First I would double-check whether you are actually shadowbanned or not. If not, there would be no need to take such a break. If you are then yes I would recommend taking a week off

      1. Kate

        Ok have you checked?

        1. Mike Walters

          I have not, no. I don’t actually have any details of your account. That being said, this is something that you can check yourself using the information within this article. I also have a separate blog post specifically talking about the shadow-ban and how to check if you have one. To save you time though, it basically boils down to searching for your content under the hashtags that you’ve used. If it’s under the most recent then great, if not then you may have a shadow-ban.

      2. Jalissa

        Hey Mike, I checked my hashtags and I noticed I don’t see my photos anywhere. So does that mean I’m shadow banned and need to take a break from IG for a week or so. Also when creating hashtags is it best to use those hashtags that doesn’t have 11.9k use and use the ones that’s more 200-500 use

        1. Mike Walters

          Hey Jalissa, by the sounds of it I would say that yes, you are most likely shadowbanned at the moment. If you can afford to take a break from the platform then that would be ideal, if not then just avoid liking, commenting etc. As far as hashtags go, it’s worth you checking out my other article… If you’re still struggling with growing your account and would like some help, I’d be happy to review your account here…

  13. Penelope

    Thanks for your blog post, really helpful! I’ve been really worried and wondering why I’ve been loosing followers lately when my content is really high quality and I don’t use any bots or ai tools but only organic grow.. And it’s because I always use the same 30 hashtags!! hehe I’ll try to take a break (1-2 weeks) and come back with a more strategic approach when it comes to the use of hashtags 🙂 Thanks again!

    1. Mike Walters

      Glad I could be of help Penelope 🙂

    1. Mike Walters

      Thank you! I really appreciate it. Let me know if I can be of any further help

  14. Andrey

    Hi Mike
    I’ve heard that hashtags are not helpful anymore to increase a number of followers, is it true?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Andrey, couldn’t be more wrong! I have accounts growing by up to 1,000 new followers a day (net) from just consistent posting + hashtags.

  15. Sophie

    I have used an application to unfolmow the people who dont follow me . Ot was my friend advice and i did nt know it was not allowed.. they already blocked my account for 10 days.and now im losing every day few … are you sure it will help to stop this if i just stop using instagram for 2 weeks. Its my business account and its CHRISTMAS soon so i have to keep communicate….

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Sophie. Yes, unfortunately you will have to wait I’m afraid. I would also avoid unfollowing people that don’t follow you. You should only be following people because you like their content, not because you want a follow back.

  16. Charly. G.

    Muy útil! Aprovecho para preguntare si así como buffer, later puede utilizarse?
    Es decir, mencionas en tu post que buffer esta autorizada por instagram, quería saber si later también.


    1. Mike Walters

      Hola Charly. Yes, Later is approved!

  17. Tim

    Hello Mike

    Thank you for this information. I have multiple accounts and the account that is losing followers has lost 2000 in the last few months. I use a company to help grow my followers and they were doing the following and unfollowing but I canceled there service 2 years ago. The followers just started dropping recently. Do I have to stop using IG all together for that 1-2 week period? Or can I still use my other accounts that arent losing followers?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello Tim, I would say that you should first confirm 100% that you are shadow-banned. If not then I would say that you continue using those accounts as is. If you are shadow-banned however, then you need to take a 1-2 week break from Instagram, especially if all of the accounts are being run from the same IP Address, which I would imagine that they are.

      1. Tim

        Funny thing is I have not been using hashtags since this started just posting and I believe its good content. I wish there was another way to verify if I was banned. I guess there may be another reason I am losing followers due to using that third party to boost followers.

        1. Mike Walters

          Hi Tim. It’s natural to lose followers with each post that you share, that’s just how social media is! If you’re not gaining followers at the same time though then you’re in trouble. That’s where you should be using (the right) hashtags! Be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags here on my blog!

  18. Emily

    Hi Mike. Thanks for the post. Last Monday I logged onto my “followers” account and in a refresh I lost 450+ followers (I only had about 1200 followers), my last 6 posts I had posted over the last year were gone, and I lost about 30% of the likes on my photos left. Many of the followers I lost were normal people, not bots… though they were a lot of people that I had once followed but have unfollowed over the years. I don’t even know why I have the app… ugh. I’ve tried to report this on Instagram about 12 times a day over the last 6 days but am getting nothing back, of course. Do you think my pictures will ever come back? I don’t really care about the followers (though it’s wildly annoying), but I really want to my photos back! (And selfishly the true number of likes on my photos)

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Emily, that really sucks to hear. Unfortunately, I doubt that you’ll get your pictures back. I once had an issue where the first slide of a 10-slide carousel disappeared, and as such, it ruined the aesthetic of my feed. Like you, I reported it multiple times to Instagram but their customer support is almost non-existent. It sounds like Instagram did a global wipe of bots, inactive accounts etc but as you mentioned they were real people so I’m not sure at this point. Apologies for not being more helpful.

  19. Ali

    The same problem happen for juliana is happening to meh…so please how can we contact you and help us solve this problem…

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Ali, thanks for reaching out. I understand your frustration. The best way to contact me is via Instagram @mike.walterz! 🙂

  20. Ely

    Hi i used to get 1000 followers a fay till 3 month a go now only getting 300 a day but says 300 followed you and 500 unfollowed i have tried coming off Instagram for 3 weeks when i logged back on same happend
    I was at 85k then now gone down to 69k and loosing hundreds a day

    Instagram elyinkmodell

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Ely, I would be more than happy to audit your account and identity the issue for you, getting your account back on the right track. If this sounds like something you would be interested in then you can contact me here.

  21. Prerna

    Hey there,idk about my shadow ban fact actually i had a account which was a sitcom fanpage before and it got like 4000 followers certainly i stopped posting on that account for a year and recently i converted that account into a travel and video creator account I deleted so many photos at one go now i post great content but i am not getting a proper reach,what would you suggest over this?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey, the issue there is that your followers no longer resonate with your content and as such your engagement has dropped. Good engagement (which isn’t faked) is key if you want to grow your account. Also, leaving the account for a year definitely will have killed off its growth. It will be tough, but you can revive this account.

  22. J

    I’m confused abt smthing. I get that the shadow ban will result in less exposure of ur content which will definitely effect ur ability to gain new followers but how does that translate to losing the ones u already have? Does Instagram literally just pick followers and delete them from ur account??

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello J. The shadowban wouldn’t directly you lose you followers, however, it would kill off any chance of growing the account. It’s only normal to lose followers every day because people get bored, aren’t interested anymore or are doing the (terrible) follow/unfollow method. There’s many reasons why people might unfollow, but if you’re not gaining followers at the same time then your account will consistently be in decline.

  23. Yarelly

    Thank you so very much!!! This was incredibly helpful and I will follow your advise! I am a tiny IG and trying to grow my small business so when the blow came it hurt a lot. But I will take this week and refocus and never repeat my hashtags again

    1. Mike Walters

      Great to hear Yarelly! Thank you for the kind words

  24. Alexa

    Hi Mike. Great content, it was very helpful! How can I get an account audit from you to detect exactly what’s going on with my IG? My personal account has consistently lost followers I’ve gone from 16.5k to now 15k within the last 7 months. I have great content of myself and I don’t really use hashtags. A few of my friends with larger accounts gave me shoutouts which grew my account from 10k to 16.5k but once I stopped receiving the shoutouts along with unfollowing people who never followed me back from years ago my follower count and reach decreased tremendously! I believe I’m shadow banned 🙁

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Alexa, you can drop me a message on Instagram at @mike.walterz or email me here!

  25. Maryam

    Hi Mike. My name is Maryam I’ve been losing followers for the past months. And I don’t know what the problem is. I opened a business account for my business and i don’t have followers in the account. Every time I logged in my business account I lose followers in my other instagram account, like it’s kind of attached or something! After reading your article I was off instagram for a week now. Now I’m scared of logging in the two account! Please help

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Maryam, sorry to hear that! If you’d like help with this then I do offer a paid Instagram account audit which will help to identify the issue and solve it. If you’d like to know more, feel free to message me on Instagram @mike.walterz!

  26. Mehak W

    A food blogger and influencer here. I am really scared and frustrated with the sudden decrease I noticed today around 60 followers I have lost in a day.
    Can you plz tell me if I take a break how much time will I be taking to recover from it. Like if I completely go off won’t there be a decrease in reach. Really confused 🙁
    Yes I used to use repitititve usage of hashtags ( didn’t know abt it ) have currently 8k+ followers
    I have always posted to spread love and happiness around.

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Mehak, was it a consistent loss of followers or just on that day? If it was the latter then maybe Instagram was just doing a purge [of fake accounts/bots]. In that case, it wouldn’t be necessary to have a break. If you’re creating quality content that your followers enjoy then you’ll have no issue with growing your account further.

  27. Mariami

    Hello Mike, I have a problem with my business page. How I know, other people it has too. What’s my problem: I lost 3k followers in last 3weeks. I don’t use any hashtags, but once Instagram send us message that our content was removed, because we haven’t permission to share this video. It was 6 January. We haven’t stopped posting, so what is your reccomendation?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Mariami, sorry for the late reply! I would suggest riding through the storm and start including researched hashtags on your posts. These are the gateway between your ideal followers and your content. Without them, you are solely relying on people sharing your content. Let me know how you get on

  28. Shruti

    What could be the reason for followers decrease in hundreds if the account is not shadow banned? Firstly I was losing hunderds of followers overnight now 25-50 decrease?

    1. Mike Walters

      To me that could imply that your content is no longer relevant (to your audience) or is of poor quality. However, without further details that’s just speculation

  29. Shantell


    I am experiencing the same problem with my page and it has been happening for about the last year now. i’ve took many breaks from instagram due to being shadow banned. But, no matter what i do my page continues to dwindle. Some of my followers reach out to me and tell me they never see my content unless they actually search my name. it’s so frustrating because i’m trying to grow my brand and business. I’ve literally tried everything even reaching out to Instagram but i never get a reply. Any advice?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello Shantell, I understand your frustration here. I would suggest getting your account reviewed to see if there’s anything that is holding your account back. You can order a review here…

  30. Jacqueline

    Our charity organisation lost 899 followers overnight. I had noticed we were tagged into an account that was ‘selling’ followers and blocked them. But it was too late. Was this or something else the cause for this loss of followers? What else could it have been? So I now not like, post, comment etc on our IG account for 1-2 weeks? Thank you.

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Jacqueline, I can’t say for sure whether this was THE cause for the loss of followers, however, being associated with services like that doesn’t help. When you say that you were ‘tagged’ to them, what exactly do you mean? Also, I see it’s been 2 weeks since you first reached out, so have you seen any positive outcome from taking a break from the platform?

  31. Shane

    Hi Mike,
    I am a singer on Instagram and went live with an account that has a big platform. I gained 2500 followers within 5 minutes. Some people could see I had 5500 followers which I could see and some people said I had 3500. The next day my followers were 3000 again. Why would I loose all of these followers? It is very annoying as it shows on the statistics that 2500 followed me on this day. I’ve noticed this on a few lives I have been on. Thank you in advance

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello Shane, how is it going? Nice work with the Live videos. I do understand your frustration here. I would have to ask which tools you are using to analyse the growth/loss of followers on these particular days.

  32. Jason

    Hi Mike
    One of my post got reported and taken down few days ago. After that, my daily follows went straight down, I normally gain 15-2000 followers daily, and now is only 600. I have same amount unfollows (800ish), so I’m loosing 1-200 followers daily. But my posts are still showing on hashtags, so I guess I’m not shadow banned? I’m not sure this situation is because of the reported content or just not good quality of content. Can you help me please?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Jason, thank you for reaching out. I myself have had the exact same issue, even when I wasn’t shadowbanned. As you have already alluded to, it can be one of two things; a secret shadowban or a drop in quality [of your posts]. Either way, it sucks that you’re only gaining a portion of the followers that you were before. I would be happy to take a look at your Instagram and determine how best to get your account back on track. If you would like me to take a look at your account for you, you can order an Instagram account audit here…

  33. Trevor T

    I deactivated my account for now. How long should I keep it deactivated? I don’t even know why I would get shadow banned. I don’t post anything bad or spam. I have 1 post from 2 years ago. I just suddenly started losing followers like every hour and no one is unfollowing me

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Trevor, have you tested for a shadowban yet? Also, I would need to see what you’re currently posting and how often. There may be many factors at play here. If you would like me to take a look at your account for you, you can order an Instagram account audit here…

  34. Taty

    Hi mike, I read your article about losing followers at a crazy speed! If I have multiple accts can I still use those and just log out of the one that’s losing them? It’s random I just noticed I lost 200 in a couple hours and I’m starting to panic… if I take a break does the unfollowing slow? At what point does it stop?

    Many thanks!!

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Taty, yes… you don’t need to take a break from ALL of the accounts, just the ones that are shadowbanned. If you’re still losing followers and need some help, you can get your account reviewed here…

  35. Ralf Emery

    Hi Mike! Years ago i bought an app to increase my followers. So i noticed that i´ve been losing follows over and over… and just doesn´t stop. I use my profile with my music and i´m worried to just stop a week or even days. I usually do lives and important posts for my carrer. What do you have for advice in my case? Stop really any acction on instagram?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Ralf, sorry to hear about your issues with Instagram. If you would like me to take a look at your account for you, you can order an Instagram account audit here…

  36. Landinha

    I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this post I have been trying to grow my Instagram for about a whole 2 years now but all I noticed is loosing followers drastically, and I don’t even use bots and I put a lot of efforts on my Instagram account , I however only got an app to help me unfollow the very same accounts that are not following me back is that a bad thing ? 24 of my most recent posts have performed badly and with this bad performance came loss of followers , everything you say here makes so much sense but I am willing to from today stay off the platform for 1 week even logging out to avoid temptation as I work on the platform as a digital influencer , will it still be possible for me to grow to 10 000 by this month ?

    1. Mike Walters

      Thank you! It’s hard to say whether you’d reach 10,000 without knowing more about your account, however, I would say that mass-unfollowing people is always going to harm your chances when it comes to Instagram engagement. It may not be necessary for you to take such a break from the platform but I would suggest you stick to more organic methods of growing your account. If you would like me to take a look at your account for you, you can order an Instagram account audit here…

  37. Prathyusha

    My account is suddenly loosing followers and as I see someone follows, I don’t see the number grow, rather I see the number go down immediately as soon as someone follows me. I had this experience with my previous account and I took a long break from that account with zero activity for almost 1 month. I didn’t help the account in anyway. So I started a new one with completely new email and credentials. Everything was going good until I reached that 1k followers. From there I noticed followers dropping for every follow I get. On top of this I was shocked to see messages going from my account without me being sent. This is me and my experience with instagram. All the hardwork I put into this is waste at the end. What should I do now?????
    Please help if you can.

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello, the last line in your message would suggest that you’ve been handing your account details over to someone/a business. Most likely as a way of outsourcing your account growth. Obviously though, you would be the best person to confirm whether or not this is true. Either way, I’d be happy to review your account and see if there’s any way that you can consistently grow your Instagram without the worries of being shadowbanned in the future. You can order your account review here…

  38. Lesley

    Mine is a strange one. With 14k followers for a genuine artist account where I post my paintings and process, mostly floral so no nudity. I was receiving between 30 – 70 followers per day. Suddenly gone to a minus each day and although my posts are receiving the usual amount of likes the followers have almost stopped. It’s sudden and weird. I have never bought followers and never followed/unfollowed. In fact I only follow 246 accounts. Also my analytics show me that I am getting very few views from hashtags and very little in Explore, which both used to work very well for me. However my posts are showing on the hashtags that I use. Also I have never given anyone my account details and have 2 factor authentication activated. It’s all very peculiar

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Lesley, that is very strange indeed. I would need to dig deeper into your account to understand why exactly you may be struggling on the platform. If you would like me to take a look at your account for you, you can order an Instagram account audit here…

  39. Jess

    Bizarre.. I’ve started to lose followers rapidly after gaining 235k and I’ve got no idea why. I checked the hashtags and still show up as a recent so it’s not a shadowban but something odd is happening in hashtags nevertheless… I usually make the top post after getting 1000 likes but lately I’m only there for a few minutes and then it changes and I have to scroll a bit to see my post. Making the top is not my priority but it’s just something that was happening that has stopped . I regularly switch up my hashtags to what’s relevant in my picture and I don’t ever use any bots or software.

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Jess, you may be ranking high on hashtags but possible for the wrong ones. What I mean is that perhaps those hashtags are no longer doing anything for your growth now that you have 235k followers. Of course, there may be more to this story than just hashtags so if you would like me to take a look at your account, you can order an account audit here…

  40. Mathilde

    Hi Mike !

    I’ve noticed for a while now that Instagram is deleting my followers. The more I gain followers per day, the more I lose. It does not matter how many I gain I am always at 0% growth total. Sometimes it’s -0,1/-0,2%
    I know it deletes real and genuine followers because many former followers told me they were not following me anymore !

    I also have a reach cut and an explorer ban.

    It doesn’t matter how much people like my content, I am never shown.

    I know my followers like my content because I have many DMs and comments. Some girls in my niche have 2000 likes but the same amount of comments.

    Can you help me please ?

    Do you think not posting for a week could help me ?

    Thank you !

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Mathilde! Hmmm, that is very strange. I would need to know more before I can really tell you what’s really going on with your account. I do offer an Instagram account audit if you’d like help with figuring out what’s wrong and how to fix it. You can order such an audit here…

  41. reem

    Hi I am losing many followers the last three days IDK why this is happening I checked the hashtags on my posts and I can see it still I get many unfollows I get like a follow from someone and then an hour after I got two unfollows from two others this is happening to me a lot the last two days and I really feel demotivated and latterly thinking of quiting instagram

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Reem, I get your frustration with Instagram but please don’t give up. There’s always a reason why your account might be struggling to grow and I’d be more than happy to help you identify the reason(s). If you would like for me to personally review your account and clarify how exactly you can consistently grow your account, you can order such review here…

  42. Joanna

    Hi! I recently hit 5,015 followers a few days ago and suddenly today I’m at 4,342. I’m not shadowbanned or anything and when I check my insights, it says I only got
    30 unfollows so the numbers aren’t adding up at all.

    1. Mike Walters

      Hi Joanna, your Insights may suggest that Instagram has performed a clean up of fake accounts however I can’t recollect seeing such things on my end. I would be interested to check out your account and identify what exactly happened. If you would like for me to personally review your account and advise on how best to grow your Instagram, you can order an Instagram account review here…

  43. Saloni

    Hey Mike. So I created a new public account in 2020 and it was steadily growing and had reached 500+ followers until day before yesterday. It started losing followers and within 12 hours I had 0 followers and I know the followers were authentic because more than half of them are my friends. It shows zero followers now. Although when I see from my private account it says 98 mutual followers yet zero followers. I have reported the problem to Instagram more than 20 times and haven’t got a response. I read this post and logged out of my public account. Do you think I have been shadow banned? As people are following me yet it says zero followers. I can see the followers in the list. But not on the account visibility and neither can anyone else see the followers. It says 0 yet people can see a lot of mutuals when despite of the display saying zero followers.

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Saloni, that is an unusual one. Never seen that before. I’ve since seen from your more recent comment though that it sorted itself out (somewhat)

  44. Saloni

    Got half of my followers back but my reach is still very low. I am non existent to my non followers despite of the hashtags now

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Saloni, if you’re struggling to reach non-followers then you’ll need to make the effort to go and engage with them personally. Otherwise, you’re 100% reliant on Instagram doing the work for you. It will take time, but if you spend 20-30 mins a day engaging with new (relevant) people, you’ll soon get that growth back.

  45. Mary

    It doesn’t work. I just keep loosing followers. Also I have advertised in the past so to me I have paid for these followers. For instagram to shadowbox me is kind of like stealing from me. Why is there no way to contact instragram

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Mary, sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, you don’t own your following… Instagram does. That’s why it’s recommended that you move your followers to platforms that you can control (i.e. email list), as soon as possible. May I ask what type of content you have been posting?

  46. Kimla

    A post of mine got taken down for bullying and harassment for some reason. A day later, I noticed I began to lose followers after steadily gaining 400 per day. I have checked my stats/insights for each of my posts, and I am still reaching a good amount of people outside of my following, through hashtags and the explore page but I am losing followers. Would this still be considered a shadow ban? What would you recommend I do?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey, sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, when you receive a strike like this, it’s a case of just powering through until you start to gain followers again. It is a form of shadowban and it’s Instagram’s way of giving you a warning. Just keep doing showing up and eventually you should start gaining followers again

  47. Donavan mcclean


    My account has been stuck at 132 k followers for almost a year with my followers going down daily. When I post only people who follow me can like my post. My views on my stories are virtually nothing around 2 to 3 hundred. I tried everything and don’t have any idea what to do.

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Donavan, I’m sorry to hear that. What’s your Instagram @?

  48. Arisa

    Thank you for this article. I’m convinced that my account is now shadowbanned. I heard that it goes away in 14 days most of the time, but mine is definitely longer than 14 days and it’s still going. Until last week even when I was shadowbanned, I was still getting a decent number of followers, but this week, I lost so many (maybe 50-60). I know you suggested we take a week or two break from Instagram, but the thing is, I really can’t. I work with brands, and some brands asked me to do a collab or promotional posts, so I have to be posting pretty much every week… What should I do? I tried contacting “something isn’t working” so many times, but obviously I get no help, and I tried taking 2 days off Instagram (not even logging in), but it didn’t work. I removed some hashtags from my recent posts, etc. Basically I tried everything I could find on the Internet to remove shadowban except taking a week long off, but nothing worked so far. It’s really upsetting and I’m genuinely sad. What should I do?

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Arisa, just checked out your Instagram and your content looks great! I don’t see any immediate reason as to why you would be shadowbanned, I too don’t believe that you are. Instagram support are terrible so I wouldn’t hold your breath with the “something isn’t working” requests. There’s no need to feel sad, as we can turn this around no problem! I’d like to help you personally to get your account growing again, as I know that you have obligations with your business partners. If you would like to revive your Instagram account then perhaps you would be interested in 1-to-1 coaching with me, personally. If so, please drop me an email here.

  49. Chinasa

    In my case everything including my pictures I cant find them anymore and I can’t view post on Instagram. And I never used abusive words on anyone.

    1. Mike Walters

      I would say that there must be a reason for your pictures not to show up at all, can you think of any reason why Instagram would actively want to ‘punish’ your account?

  50. Darren

    My sons ig is losing 100 followers a day at times all while picking up 80 new followers. We don’t use bots and only use one hashtag. The hashtag we use when we check it’s there. Not sure why to do to figure out this issue. We have 54k but should have 75-100k by now

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Darren, sorry to hear about that. I’m not sure if you’re only using 1 hashtag for testing purposes, but you should be using up to 30 hashtags if you really want to grow your account. That aside, what is your son’s Instagram handle? Feel free to message me on IG (@mike.walterz)

  51. Arwa Ayman

    Hey Mike, since 3 months and until now my account losing many followers. It’s about 100-200 daily!! I was 71K and now 70.6k. Sometimes 70.5k and back again to 70.6k. At the same time, there’s some new people had to follow me but there’s no benefit. Even my posts were appearing always in explore but from june to now “August” i couldn’t find any post of mine in explore. I searched many times to find any solution but nothing works. I was gaining a lot of followers every day, I don’t know what happened suddenly and I got into this situation. I’ve tried every way, even uploading pictures at convenient times according to active people but still the same problem. Please help me, I really need your help! please reply i’ll be thankful…

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello Arwa, sorry to hear about that. I’d be more than happy to help. Unfortunately, I don’t offer any free help anymore but you can book a strategy session with me here. Together we can identify the issue and get your account growing again 🙂

  52. Kristen

    I woke up this morning to find that Instagram took away 1000 of my followers, I was about to reach 2000 and for a small business that’s huge! After reading your article I know that it’s from using the same hashtags over and over. My question is is there a way to get Instagram to give you back your thousand followers? Thanks – Kristen

    1. Mike Walters

      Hello Kristen. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get those 1,000 followers back. I would also imagine that there’s more to this story though, as it’s unlikely that Instagram would remove that many followers purely because of repetitive hashtags. Can you think of anything else that you may have done to warrant such a punishment?

  53. Michael Ryan

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve steadily increased my Instagram following to over 14,000 followers when a few months ago it just got stuck. I kept getting new followers but I would lose just as many or sometimes a bit more. I don’t use any illegal means to increase my followers, just daily posting of my artwork with a thoughtful story to go with it. I had been using the max or close to the max in terms of hashtags and perhaps using the same ones for too long. I have now brought it down to 12 or so hashtags per post and am mixing them up. Any advice??

    1. Mike Walters

      Hey Michael, it’s hard to say with having a deeper look into your account. You’re welcome to email me at to see if we can sort things out for you

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