So you’ve posted something on social media, but the post did not get many likes, shares, comments, and even any kind of engagement. But the internet is fine. How come no one has seen the post at all?
You might’ve gotten shadowbanned.
When an account becomes shadowbanned, it becomes invisible to everyone. Like the term suggests, the account becomes a shadow; only the owner will see the posts.
It can be quite stressful for online users not to be able to interact on social media. So it’s best to avoid getting shadowbanned.
What Exactly is Shadow banning?
Shadowbanning happens when an account posts something on social media but is not seen by anyone. What’s even worse is that the account will not get notified, or it will not know for sure if it’s shadowbanned or not.
Many believe that content posted online is only successful when it has reached many people worldwide and has gained enough engagement.
With shadowbanning, posts will not reach an account’s target market, and no engagement will happen. The posts are left alone, and no one sees them.
Shadowbans block contents and accounts of users without them knowing for sure that they have been blocked. For example, if I am a shadowbanned user, the site on my end functions normally.
I can engage and see posts of other people. However, other users cannot see my posts. I am invisible to them. This is how shadowbanning works.
When my account is shadow banned, who is to blame?
The main reason why shadowbanning happens is usually because of a change in the site’s newsfeed and search algorithm. These algorithms belong to social media companies, so they would not want to admit that they are exactly the ones doing shadowbanning.
Shadow banning Sites
Sites, where shadowbanning happens, continue to grow day by day, and no one has the right list of sites where an account can get shadowbanned.
However, popular sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram all have accounts that encountered shadowbanning already. Generally, there are four major types of shadowbanning.
- Accounts usernames and hashtags do not show up in SEO search
- Follower engagement does not improve or even show signs of decrease
- Certain features that are blocked
- The account is temporarily banned but then goes back to being normal later on.
Let us dive deeper into how shadowbanning happens on popular social media sites, how to know when an account is shadowbanned, and how to prevent it from happening.
Twitter Shadow ban
People asked Twitter whether they shadowban accounts or not, and they released a blog post saying that they do not. According to the blog, Twitter upfront said that,
To make it sound easier, since Twitter ranks tweets and search results, if Twitter assumes that someone is a troll, they can penalize that account by assigning a very low and almost invisible rank to my tweets.
In other words, the account may get shadowbanned.
How to avoid getting shadow banned on Twitter?
From the same blog post, the people in Twitter also mentioned some points that will help them decide whether an account is bad for the internet or not:
- Get the email verified
- Having a profile picture
- Make the account active
- Chat with contacts
- Avoid spamming tweets
- Don’t use automation tools
How to know when I am shadow banned on Twitter?
There’s no definite way of knowing if an account is shadowbanned on Twitter. But with recent advancements online, a site called shadowban.eu has claimed that it can identify if an account has been shadowbanned on Twitter.
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Instagram Shadow ban
Another popular social media website is Instagram which also claims to not shadowban accounts, according to the released statement of Instagram’s CEO.
While this can be true, Instagram also tries to clean up content by changing its algorithm and penalizing accounts that are deemed “inappropriate.”
Even though a post does not go against Instagram’s Community Guidelines, the app’s algorithm can still hide the post if it is not right for a diverse audience.
Why am I shadow banned?
Here are some good reasons why an account is shadowbanned on Instagram.
- Schedule postings by using bots and automated tools
- Buying followers
- Using tons of hashtags that are irrelevant to the post
- Repeatedly use the same hashtags
- Using inappropriate hashtags
How can I know if I am shadow banned on Instagram?
Like Twitter, there is no definite way to know that I am shadowbanned, but other online apps can help. Triberr is one of those.
Facebook’s ad policies and community guidelines strictly follow the “Remove. Reduce. Inform” rule. To make it simpler, Facebook removes content that violates its community guidelines and reduces informational content that is misleading and undesirable.
So, if Facebook always reduces my content, it’s a sign that I might have been shadowbanned. Facebook also removes external links that may be clickbait.
How to avoid getting shadowbanned on Facebook?
As shadowbanning can be a real thing on Facebook, here are some tips to avoid the chance of getting shadowbanned:
- Only share true and valuable content
- Use inappropriate hashtags
- Do not use automated bots to gain likes and followers
- Avoid being spammy
How to know whether I am shadowbanned on Facebook?
There are no tools or apps that can help identify whether an account is shadowbanned on Facebook. But, one thing I can do is log in using my friend’s account and check if my posts can be seen.
Another thing I can do is check to see if my post engagements are going well or if there is a drop in them.
Tiktok has been getting trendy nowadays for making short videos and mini vlogs. And yes, people may also get shadowbanned on this site.
While there is no direct statement regarding shadowbanning on Tiktok’s community guidelines, it can still happen.
How do I know if I am shadowbanned on Tiktok?
Just like the other popular social media sites, there is no direct way of knowing whether an account is shadowbanned on Tiktok or not.
Here is a step-by-step way of trying to find out whether an account’s videos do not show up on anyone’s For You Page. If a video has received traffic from the For You Page, then the owner of that video is not shadowbanned.
Here’s a simple way to check it.
- Open a video that has been live for at least 72 hours after suspecting an account being shadowbanned.
- From the video, click the “…” button on the bottom right.
- Then, click on the analytics icon.
The analytics page will list all the traffic sources of that specific video. If the video even has a single view, the account is certain that it’s not shadowbanned.
How to end TikTok shadowban?
There are ways to end Tiktok shadowban. Once you know why an account is banned, it can be easy.
Here is a simple procedure to end shadowbanning.
- Delete videos that would have violated Tiktok’s community guidelines.
- Cleared all my TikTok cache.
- Continue posting videos regularly (at least once a day).
- Wait for 2 weeks and then reexamine my analytics page if my videos get traffic again.
- Uninstall and re-download the app.
- After re-downloading, Ask for help from the Tiktok support team.
Social Media Tips to Avoid being Shadowbanned
As shadowbanning is not directly an explicit error on social media, it still happens. Social media websites would not publicly admit that they shadowban accounts, so the only thing that we, as users, can do is to avoid getting on their nerves.
Here are certain social media tips to avoid being shadowbanned.
- Avoid violating different apps’ community guidelines.
- Don’t use automated bots or act like bots by engaging in inappropriate and irrelevant hashtags.
- Don’t use banned hashtags.
- Avoid being spammy by posting the same content and making the same comments repeatedly.
- Be consistent in posting content at the best time of the day.
- Don’t buy likes and followers.
- Respect each other in social media communities.
Shadowbanning is real; try to avoid it.
No matter how all the social media sites will tell us that shadowbanning is not true, it happens, and it can happen to anyone. Although there is no direct cause as to why we get shadowbanned, there are preventive measures we can take to avoid this issue.
We must pay attention to each website’s community guidelines and ensure that we do not violate anything. Post relevant and meaningful content and avoid being spammy regarding hashtags, comments, and any other engagement with people online.
Being shadowbanned is frustrating and may get on one’s nerves, especially if it is difficult to point out. Hopefully, the explanations and tips that I presented will help users understand how shadowbanning happens to avoid this in the future.
Leave a comment below if you have been shadowbanned before and share how you overcame it.
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