Have you ever heard of the term “shadowban” and wondered what it really means, especially in the context of TikTok? Well, you’re not alone. The internet can be a dramatic place, and the word “shadowban” has certainly caught everyone’s attention. While it’s unclear whether shadowbans are real, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, let’s put on our tinfoil hats and delve into the world of TikTok shadowbans together. Here’s a handy guide to help you understand what they are and how they relate to TikTok.
What is a shadowban on TikTok?
In general, a shadowban occurs when a user’s visibility is restricted on a social media platform or forum without any notification. When it comes to TikTok, a shadowban refers to the temporary restriction of an account’s visibility. This means that a user’s videos will no longer appear on TikTok’s “For You” page (also known as the #FYP). Additionally, their content will be excluded from the hashtags section of the app.
Users who experience a shadowban often find that their posts become harder to find and no longer receive the same amount of likes and comments as before. While there are various conspiracy theories surrounding shadowbans, it’s clear that something is indeed happening on TikTok.
However, it’s important to note that TikTok does not use the term “shadowban” in their official documentation. They have never fully admitted to participating in this practice, but they have provided enough indications to suggest that they do limit certain users during certain times. According to TikTok’s site, they may temporarily or permanently ban accounts and/or users that violate their Community Guidelines.
If you want to learn more about TikTok shadowbans, we’ve even created a video where we answer frequently asked questions:
How do you get shadowbanned on TikTok?
Although TikTok doesn’t explicitly admit to shadowbanning, it’s undeniable that they block or partially block content from specific accounts. There are a few prominent reasons why someone might get shadowbanned. Let’s take a look at some of them:
You violate TikTok’s Community Guidelines
The most obvious reason for a shadowban is violating TikTok’s Community Guidelines. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these guidelines and ensure that you’re not breaking any rules. Avoid posting content that includes graphic violence, nudity, drugs, hate speech, copyrighted music or footage from outside the app, or misinformation (aka fake news). While some of these topics may be subjective, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
You act like a spammer
Posting like a bot will get you treated like one. Avoid spamming TikTok with bulk follows or flooding the feed with new videos. These actions increase the likelihood of ending up on some sort of watchlist. Remember, there are better ways to grow your TikTok account.
You’re shadowbanned by accident
TikTok’s guidelines are enforced by an algorithm, and this can sometimes lead to mistakes. Certain topics or content may be mistakenly flagged by censors. Critics have accused TikTok of intentionally stifling the voices of activists and protestors. For example, during the George Floyd protests in 2020, many Black Lives Matter activists claimed that their posts received zero views when using hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter or #GeorgeFloyd.
TikTok responded to these protests, blaming a glitch and promising to foster diversity on the platform. Other movements have also accused TikTok of shadowbanning, but a TikTok spokesperson assured that they act swiftly when their algorithms flag content that hasn’t violated any guidelines.
How to tell if you’ve been shadowbanned
As the name suggests, a shadowban keeps you in the dark about what’s happening. There’s no message from TikTok to inform you that you’ve been restricted. However, there are a few signs that might indicate a shadowban:
- Numbers nosedive: If you notice a sudden halt in likes, views, and shares on your content, it could be a sign of a shadowban.
- Uploads delayed: If your videos are under review or take an unusually long time to process, it’s worth considering whether you’ve been affected.
- No longer on the For You page: The For You page is where your content should appear if things are going well. If your posts have disappeared from a friend’s For You page, it might be due to a shadowban.
How long will a TikTok shadowban last?
Determining the length of something that may not even exist can be tricky. However, in most cases, a shadowban on TikTok lasts around 14 days. Some users have reported shorter durations, such as 24 hours, while others have experienced longer bans, up to a month. Nevertheless, the general consensus is a two-week duration.
How to get out of a shadowban on TikTok: 5 tips
Contrary to what some may believe, getting out of a shadowban doesn’t require a secret handshake or any sacrifices to appease the algorithm overlords. Here are a few simple steps that may help you lift the shadowban:
1. Remove flagged content
Review your posts and identify any that may have triggered the shadowban. Once you’ve identified the likely culprit, remove it and wait for the algorithm to forgive you.
2. Reinstall the app
If you have successfully removed the offending post and want to test if the shadowban has been lifted, you can try deleting and reinstalling the TikTok app on your device. Clearing the cache or updating the app may resolve the issue.
3. Be normal
Acting like a bot will only attract the attention of TikTok’s moderation bots. Once your temporary time-out is over, avoid engaging in following sprees or dumping excessive videos. Instead, take a more relaxed approach to your TikTok activity.
4. Follow community guidelines
To avoid any issues with TikTok’s algorithms, make sure you adhere to the platform’s Community Guidelines. Remember, it’s not just about avoiding inappropriate content. Violating copyright laws or other guidelines can also lead to flags and shadowbans. Familiarize yourself with the rules to ensure compliance.
5. Check your analytics
Monitoring your analytics is an excellent way to gauge the performance of your posts and detect any potential shadowbans from the TikTok algorithm. If your posts are no longer receiving hits from the For You page, you can take immediate action. If you want more in-depth insights, consider using a third-party social media management tool, such as Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to schedule TikToks, review and respond to comments, and measure your success on the platform from an intuitive dashboard.
By following these tips and staying within TikTok’s guidelines, you’ll be able to navigate the shadowban landscape and continue enjoying your TikTok experience. Happy TikToking!