NAME: Yulfi
CENSORSHIP: Shadow ban

What reason was given for your ban?

I wasn’t told, but my own research led me to understand that the use of certain hashtags and the act of tagging people on your post, among other ‘bot-like’ actions can get you shadow banned.

Why do you think your post(s) was censored?

I’m a commercial photographer, so I want potential clients to see my work on social media. I have three hungry mouths to feed, so I’m probably too eager for people to see my work, which results in me using hashtags that are probably overly saturated by now; I also tag accounts on certain posts that I think they’d be interested in engaging with, but that probably seems like ‘bot’ behaviour to Instagram too.

Were you able to appeal and what was the response?

I just recently learned that you could contact Instagram and report that people aren’t seeing your posts, which is ironic because I’ve contacted their support team in a different way in the past and expressed my frustration with them about this issue, but they never got back to me about it. Facebook has also overcharged me for IG ads, but I lost the dispute because PayPal claimed that I “agreed to the transaction”. I bought ads because my posts weren’t being seen, and I couldn’t even be reimbursed for money that they overcharged me in the end, which is really frustrating.

What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?

Sometimes, I feel like deleting Instagram altogether and focusing my branding and marketing efforts elsewhere; but it seems like everyone is on there, so I have FOMO. I’ve been dedicating time to learning what effective marketing channels there are out there for a commercial photographer because I don’t think Instagram is the place for me.

What’s one thing you want people to know about this topic?

Find alternative avenues for effectively branding and marketing your offer so that you don’t have to keep bending over for Instagram’s algorithm; otherwise, you’ll end up discouraged and frustrated like me.