One of my Instagram accounts was behaving oddly and I discovered my following accounts number had been capped.
I originally suspected I was shadow banned, because so many other people I knew had been. However, I’d never bought followers, I posted photos directly to the Instagram app and tried to mix up my hashtags. I didn’t use the hashtag trick where you post one set of hashtags, and then replace them with a new set of hashtags. My actions were not what I’d consider to be spammy or dodgy.
After a couple of weeks of testing I thought there might have been a ratio of follower to following accounts, so I searched Instagram’s support pages. It turns out that there is a limit to the number of people or accounts you can follow. I wasn’t receiving the error message, but I was definitively capped. Instagram says:
To help reduce spam, Instagram doesn’t allow anyone to follow more than 7,500 people.
Anyone who tries to follow more than 7,500 people will see an error message, regardless of how many followers they have. Anyone who’s currently following more than 7,500 people did so before this change was made.
After some further research, I discovered hidden in the developer pages of Instagram there are other Instagram limits. (Please note a sandbox is just another name for testing – it’s good practice to test any app before it’s launched to the public).
|CLIENT STATUS||ENDPOINT||RATE LIMIT|
|Sandbox||/media/media-id/likes||30 / hour|
|Sandbox||/media/media-id/comments||30 / hour|
|Sandbox||/users/user-id/relationships||30 / hour|
|Live||/media/media-id/likes||60 / hour|
|Live||/media/media-id/comments||60 / hour|
|Live||/users/user-id/relationships||60 / hour|
Instagram Like and Comment Limits
According to Instagram, you can only like 60 photos in an hour. You can also leave 60 comments on photos or videos. You can have 60 relationships per hour – so that’s a total of follow and unfollow actions combined.
There might be other limits which we aren’t told about. For example, it would be considered spammy to leave the exact same comment 60 times. As the platform matures and grows in popularity there will be more algorithm changes and perhaps new limits. It pays to stay up to date with social media.
Figures correct: January 2018