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Instagram Rules and Restrictions: Limits for Likes, Followers and Comments

If you’re promoting your own Instagram account, or that of your company, you should study the following recommendations very carefully. Sticking to these points you can protect your account from getting blocked or sanctioned by Instagram.

Actions frequency restrictions

  • Likes limit: no more than one like every 28 – 36 seconds (1000 likes at a time for a period of 24 hours);
  • Followers limit: no more than one like every 28 – 36 seconds and no more than 200 followers an hour (1000 followers at a time for a period of 24 hours);
  • Followers + Likes limit: no more than 2000 (1000 + 1000) every 24 hours with the interval of 28 – 38 seconds;
  • Unfollow limit: the interval of 12-22 seconds, no more than 1000 every 24 hours from unmutual and 1000 from mutual;
  • Mentions limit: 5 nicks in a message with the interval of 350-450 seconds;
  • Comments limit: no more than 12-14 an hour with the interval of 350 – 400 seconds, overlimit might be treated as spam;
  • Publishing images: you shouldn’t add too many images to a new Instagram account, the best practice is to publish no more than 2-3 images a day, and for older accounts this figure is 9-12 images.
Last Instagram limitations update: 04.28.17

New account limitations

You should keep these in mind in case you’re not sure that Instagram treats your account as a trusted one, or if you want to secure your account from getting blocked to the full.

  • The actions interval for the first 12-20 days is 36-48 seconds;
  • The total limit for all kinds of actions (follow, unfollow, like) is 500 every 24 hours.

The best strategy for new accounts would be to publish 2 or 3 images and let the account settle in for 2 or 3 weeks.

Breaking Instagram Rules

Slight abuse of these rules won’t get your account blocked, but all actions get summed up, and if at a certain period a critical amount of such actions piles up, it will lead to your page being banned or pessimized.

You can measure the significance of a rule by how often it’s mentioned in a social network’s rules:

  • Intellectual property (photos taken by other people) — 12 references;
  • Comments (spam) — 4 references;
  • Likes (mass liking) — 1 reference;
  • Follow (mass following) — 1 reference.
instagram rules and restrictions

Technological infractions

  • Frequent change of IP-address. In cases when you log into the account from different services that use different IPs to connect;
  • Frequent change of devices. Instagram keeps track of logging devices, and switching between them too often during a short period of time might get your account blocked until your circumstances are clarified;
  • Buying an account. Buying an account from an unconscientious seller who had registered and filled up hundreds of pages from one IP gives you high chances of getting this account banned;
  • Creating accounts. You should avoid creating accounts with automated devices, scripts, serial adders and other unsanctioned devices.

Boosting up the key figures

  • Spam comments. This category of forbidden activities includes using the self-advertisement service, repeated comments, comments with commercial spam, for instance, website URLs and promo codes;
  • #hashtag spam. Instagram can freeze your posts’ hashtag indexing in case you publish several images one after another with one and the same set of hashtags. You can tell it’s happened to you when your images are getting published without a description or with non-functioning hashtags;
  • Mass following. A drastic and rapid increase in followers puts Instagram algorithms on guard and practically always results in the blocking of your account;
  • Mass liking. The situation is the same as with the previous point – a rapid increase in popularity doesn’t go unnoticed by the algorithms and shuts down by having the account blocked.

Forbidden content

  • Photos taken by other people and people in the photos. Publishing the materials copied from the Internet and publishing the photos of other people is forbidden. The accounts that do that can be blocked at any moment;
  • Document photos. Pages get banned for publishing emails, social security numbers, credit card, passport and driver’s license information, and mobile numbers that belong to you or another person;
  • One image in several pages. You shouldn’t publish one and the same image in several accounts at one and the same time. This can get all the accounts banned, even though each of them is using its own IP-address;
  • Brand pages. If you’re creating a brand page for an organization or any other corporate entity, in this case Instagram will require you to provide proof you’re entitled to this kind of activity.
We have listed the most common reasons that get the pages blocked. The other actions that can lead to sanctions constitute no more than 1% of all blockings.

How to Secure Your Account from Blocking

Take these simple steps to secure your or your company’s account from blocking:

1. Checking the IP-address for blocking in Instagram

Instagram is actively using spam-bases to check IP-addresses for spam activity, one of these bases is called spamhaus. If you register and a promote an Instagram account from an IP-address that is included into this base, your chances of getting the account automatically banned increase dramatically.

2. Safe work with Instagram

The risk of getting an account blocked increases in case it appears from different IP-addresses and different devices. To make your work with Instagram safer, we recommend to use personal proxy IP-addresses with no more than 2 accounts per 1 IP-address, and try not to switch devices used to log into the account.

3. Binding an account to a smartphone

Instagram restrictions actually allow to bind several pages to one and the same phone number, but this is done on purpose and definitely not for your convenience. All the accounts that have one and the same phone number in the profile are filtered and checked extra thoroughly. I strongly suggest that you bind 1 phone number to 1 account and 1 Facebook profile.

See also:

What to Do If Your Account has Been Blocked?

– Your Instagram account is blocked, what do you do now?

– The correct answer to this questions is: NOTHING!

Cease the activity in your account for several hours, don’t publish images, don’t like anyone and don’t write comments. If nothing changes in 2-3 hours, you’ll have to wait for 1 – 3 days. The worst infractions can get you banned to up to 5 days.

If Instagram started asking you to enter a capture or confirm your pages, it is a reason to get on guard and fall back.

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  • Great article. You discussed the restrictions that we should follow so we won’t get banned, but I was wondering.. what do you know about instagram’s algorithm putting you “lower” when we do not follow these restrictions?

    • Hello, thanks!

      Did I get it right that you’re asking if there are Instagram sanctions that lower your account, but don’t block it if you’ve exceeded the limits?

      Instagram really can apply some limitations to your account, like lower the outreach, or prohibit you to publish images. For instance, this might happen if you overuse hashtags. In this case your images won’t display by these hashtags. But if you exceed the limits mentioned in the article you’ll get banned. Generally, the first way to tell that you’re approaching a ban, are captures and other tests to make sure you’re not a robot.

      You should also take into consideration that Instagram is always improving its algorithms, and you probably got hit by the changes. Did I answer your question? Please, let me know 🙂

  • Hello Stacy,

    You need to contact Instagram support and explain the situation to them. of course, you don’t need to mention mass following and mass liking or any other forbidden promotion methods.
    Most restrictions are applied automatically, and contacting support often yields positive results.

    Also, you can try to refrain from serious activity in your account for a period of 10-14 days, and just post or two images a day. In the meantime you can start promoting a new account.
    If everything goes well, you’ll have 2 profiles. If not, you can move a portion of images from the old account to the new one, and then start all over again.

    I hope this helps!

  • Filip

    I don’t get this: Followers limit: no more than one like (I guess you meant follow) every 28 – 36 seconds and no more than 200 followers an hour.

    If i follow one person every lets say 30 sec, than i have 120 followers in an hour – so how can there be another rule of 200 followers an hour? (that would exceed the 28-36 sec rule).

    Also, a lot of sources over the internet are mentioning following 8 people every 5 minutes, (like click click click click way of following), than wait 5 minutes, than again 8 people… Is it unsafe doing it without this 30sec period between each follow/like?

    Thanks for clarification,

    • Andrey Kozinskiy

      Hey Filip,

      1) 28-30 secs is not a specific guideline, it’s rather a recommendation. So if you decide to exceed this, the nest recommendation would be to limit following to 200 users an hour. This is also a recommendation, so you’re welcome to exceed this limit if you know what you’re doing.

      2) If you don’t do mass Instasgram account promotion, you should stick to the less aggressive strategy, and here’s when you can use the new account promotion plan, or the method that you’ve suggested.

      Also, you should keep in mind that these data is not exact, it can differ from one case to another. Instagram often changes its limits and imposes individual restrictions, so practice is the best teacher on this point.

      I hope this will help you figure the matter out!

    • Hello Filip,

      Our apologies for the delay in getting back to you!

      We’re working on a very interesting update to this article, with lots of new info. In the meantime, what you can do is cut the limits in this article by several times, as Instagram has cracked down on some of the limits recently.


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