Does Follow-Unfollow ever cause shadowbans?

Got a client complaining right now that his engagement went slightly down during my service. He says he thinks he’s shadowbanned. I know he’s not (he’s showing up in hashtags), but it does raise an interesting question that I can’t find any answers to in search:

Does Follow-Unfollow ever cause shadowbans? (I know it didn’t in this case, but just in general)

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That depends on targeting, and yes, you might see a bit of engagement drop.

He is not shadow banned, you know how I know?

Clients can and will blame anyone and everyone for everything. There is a trade off. If he wants more followers, he needs you. If he wants the extra 2 -5% engagement, he can not use you and stagnate or lose followers. He can get the engagement back by you targeting better, and them using better content and CTA’s


By “targeting better”, in addition to just better sources, do you mean using the Jarvee source “Follow users that interacted with posts on target accounts”? I’ve heard that helps engagment but am always afraid to use it with clients who provide small accounts as their sources e.g. 10k-100k (which means I probably won’t be able to follow many from them). But perhaps I’m just pulling this fear out of my ass? I’ve not really tested it.

Also, what are your thoughts on whether or not plain old Follow-Unfollow causes shadowbans? (I know it’s not true in this client case, but in general.)

You can target growth or you can target engagement.

Basically if he wants more followers, he needs to accept an engagement drop until the dust settles…especially if you’re not removing ghost followers as well.

There’s also other factors, but if you’re growing his account engagement is near guaranteed to drop. That’s the nature of how account growing works and is why a good balance toggling between growth and engagement is recommended to my clients.


In theory targeting people that interact with other posts does help at least identify active people. However in my experience I find a lot of the accounts it attracts are other botted accounts that like one or two posts then disappear forever.

Plus there’s no guarantee a person who likes/comments on content from source A will ultimately like the content of your client. My usual preference is to get accounts to up to +90 follower growth a day and depending on account size…sanitize the account regularly removing ghosts from the account somewhere under that +90.

I’ll educate the client what I’m doing and why. Basically replacing dead weight with fresh new engaging accounts. It slows down follower growth in terms of day to day comparisons but engagement will typically increase over time as well provided your client doesn’t suck with their content or posting strategies.

As a customer service suggestion. I’d take some time and research the hashtags he’s used recently and see if he’s targeting outside of his top 9 possibilities. Then maybe provide some alternatives for him to use. Just let him know there’s no guarantees but there are better odds of some top 9 spots which in turn typically means more reach.

Make sure you’re checking on accounts that aren’t affiliated with the client as well. Don’t check via his account or any account he follows or accounts that follow him. Otherwise his content may still show up even if he’s actually shadowbanned.

Has he compared his insights statistics over the last little while? A change in his discovery/reach would be far more telling if his account is having issues. I’ve had times my personal accounts have gone from 7% to 2% within a few days but my reach stays about the same. Oddly enough when I adjust my content it spikes back up when that happens :wink:


How to target engagement exactly ?
beside posting engaging posts with researched relative hashtags and quality post ?

I really like where this thread went with regards to targeting for growth and targeting for engagement. Excellent value being shared.

But I’m still curious if you guys have any idea about the original question regarding if Follow-Unfollow in particular ever causes shadowbans? I’ve gotten some shadowbans after PVs, but are shadowbans in general something we should worry about causing as account managers?

by defining rules for scraping and finding users who engage a lot with worse content in the same niche.


so you basically target likers/commenters of username posts, where the username content is lower quality then yours ?


Yes and I think the lower quality aspect is really important. Dont want to highjack sry OP


@Kripke got it right. Basically target active people on sources with worse content but same niche. In addition removing ghost follows can help as well with the engagement the client already has followers for.

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and you do that by going to
Followers Block > Remove followers instead of blocking
Do not Block likers
Do not block Commenters
users has not posted within the last 90 days

what if half the followers are gone ?

the short answer is no… the longer answer is nope-
these cause shadowings.
using a banned hashtag/ to many hashtags --31 or above
account being reinstated after being disabled.
post got deleted by insta for different reasons
those are the main ones
never for f/u


So if you get PV/EV from F/U You will be shadowbanned ?

you wont get a pv/ev from f/u – where ya get that idea from?

really ?

one of my accounts got PV while only using F/U no more then 100 a day

there are accounts getting p.v’s from no actions – there are some getting them not not even connected to any bot. how do you explain those?

if you have other accounts f/u not getting hit – can’t blame f/u --if all of them did – possibly something else is triggering it.


to be honest it was just one account out of 10 accounts

interesting… never knew that before

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You are right about the settings. As far as what happens if half the followers are gone. Ultimately they’re all dead weight and most likely causing more harm than good.

BUT since this is a client account you need to speak with them and what they want. Most clients won’t want a hefty drop in followers on their account…but that can be mitigated by limiting the number of removals/day below the average new followers that come in or if your software allows it to stop the tool from working once it hits a floor setting.

The client can’t expect exceptional growth and exceptional engagement unless he produces exceptional content. So work out his goals and give him the option as to what is more important for his current goals. Make sure he knows engagement improving (depending on account size) can take time.