As previously mentioned, Instagram says that they are very much against shadowbanning. Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, fields questions about shadowbanning often. In 2019, Mosseri, when asked about the practice of shadowbanning, said “Shadowbanning is not a thing. If someone follows you on Instagram, your photos and videos can show up in their feed if they keep using the feed. Being in Explore is not guaranteed for anyone. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, sometimes you won’t.”
Mosseri also spoke about hashtags, which are commonly associated with shadowbanning. Typically, users who believe they’ve been shadowbanned by Instagram complain they cannot find their content under the hashtags they have tagged with their posts. Mosseri says “Some people don’t realize this but we don’t actually show every post with a hashtag under that hashtag. We try to show people the ones that they might be the most interested in. This is to try and keep hashtag pages interesting but also to avoid spam and abuse.”
Even with such communication from Mosseri and other leaders at Instagram, what concerns many who believe the shadowban is in fact real, is a simple understanding of terminology. As Carolina Hadas put it back in 2019, “Shadowban is a term that Instagram doesn’t use. They’ve never used it, they’ve always denied it was a thing. It doesn’t mean that the things included in the shadowban label are not happening.”
Simply stated, just because Instagram doesn’t use the term shadowban, that doesn’t mean that the practice itself doesn’t take place. In fact, a few years ago, Instagram spoke specifically about some of the causes of “shadowbanning” without using the term. Further proof that shadowbanning does exist in some form even if Instagram doesn’t define it the way that others do.