Regardless of how big or small of a following you have on TikTok, no one, and I mean no one, wants to be shadowbanned. The term "shadowban" has popped up frequently in relation to TikTok and other social media apps, with most users saying it refers to when a creator's content abruptly stops performing well, and the platform seemingly begins showing a creator's content to fewer users. The idea of a shadowban can be a tough one to prove since there's not much evidence to support that it's real. (Instagram's CEO Adam Mosseri denied shadowbanning being real in February 2020.) Still, the number of people who claim to experience shadowbanning is large and growing. Whether or not shadowbanning is an "official" practice, seeing a dip in your account's engagement is certainly frustrating, and according to those who say they've experienced it, a shadowban can be a tricky hole to dig yourself out of. It appears there's no exact rhyme or reason as to why you might be shadowbanned, but we have a few suggestions that could help. Keep reading to learn more about shadowbanning and how to get unshadowbanned if you believe it has happened to you.
What Is Shadowbanning?
"Shadowbanning" is typically described as a secret restriction some social media apps might impose on an account to limit its content from showing up on other users' For You Pages. As a result, the shadowbanned user may stop receiving as many likes, comments, and views on their posts. Users across apps like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, among others, have reported suspicions about their accounts being shadowbanned when they experience a sudden, prolonged drop in engagement.
Why Might Accounts Get Shadowbanned?
Since shadowbanning (also known as ghost banning or stealth banning) isn't an "official" practice — and apps like TikTok or YouTube have never referenced it — no one really knows why shadowbanning happens. One possible explanation has to do with apps like TikTok trying to limit spammers. So if you're acting like one by liking a lot of posts in a day or following a lot of accounts in succession, you could find that TikTok might silently stop showing your videos to others on the FYP. Another potential reason for shadowbanning? Repeatedly going against TikTok's community guidelines with content containing hate speech, nudity, drugs, fake news, violence, or any other inappropriate behaviour the app doesn't condone.
How Do I Know If I've Been Shadowbanned?
If, out of nowhere, you see a drastic drop in engagement on your content, it's possible you've been shadowbanned. If this happens, you may find your videos might not show up on aggregated feeds like TikTok's For You Page as often, or you can't find them when you search for them using a hashtag. However, there are other possible reasons for seeing a dip in engagement, too, like posting at a slow time on the app, experiencing a drop in followers, or posting new or different content than your followers are used to. The best way to tell if you're experiencing a shadowban is by switching to a TikTok Pro account and monitoring your engagement using the provided analytics. The data section will be able to tell you if your engagement has increased or decreased over time, as well as help you better understand the time of day you post and what content does best.
How Do I Get Unshadowbanned on TikTok?
According to one Reddit thread, people have reported being shadowbanned anywhere from two weeks to a month. Users have tried uninstalling and reinstalling the app to get around the shadowban, as well as deleting any content that goes against an app's community guidelines. The general consensus, however, appears to be that it's best to wait out the shadowban and let it lift on its own. You may also want to try giving your account a break from posting any new content for a few days and starting back fresh.