Have you been wondering what the TikTok shadow ban is and how to avoid it? The term “shadow ban” has popped up frequently in relation to TikTok and other social media apps, with most users using it to refer to when a platform seemingly begins to show a creator’s content to fewer users and their content abruptly stops performing well.
It can be difficult to prove that you’re the victim of a shadow ban since popular apps typically renounce that shadow bans exist. While some evidence suggests that these platforms do indeed control what content users see, there is also plenty of evidence that users won’t see.
For example, in September 2020, a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that TikTok was censoring some LGBTQ+ hashtags in certain countries, such as Russia, Bosnia, and Jordan. In a statement to Pink News at the time, the app confirmed that it “partially restricted” terms (like “gay” in Russian and Arabic and “transgender” in Arabic) “due to relevant local laws,” adding that “other terms were restricted because they were primarily used when looking for pornographic content.” TikTok denied that this was censorship, but many media outlets defined it as shadow-banning.
Black creators have also spoken out about TikTok allegedly censoring their content, with one user in July 2021 pointing out a glitch in the Creator Marketplace algorithm that forbade the use of the word “Black” while allowing terms like “pro-white” and “neo-Nazi.” (TikTok later apologized and said it was working to fix the “significant error.”)
The number of people who claim to experience shadow-banning is large and growing, with people of color and LGBTQ+ people appearing to be hit hardest. And according to those who say they’ve experienced it, a shadow ban can be tricky to shake off. Discover how to restore your account after being shadow-banned and how to prevent it from happening again.
What Is TikTok Shadow-Banning?
How Do You Know if You’ve Been Shadowbanned on TikTok?
If you’ve been shadowbanned on TikTok, your posts’ reach and engagement will suddenly drop. Thus, likes, views, and shares go down. Unfortunately, you may be naturally losing your audience.
If you have been shadowbanned, it doesn’t mean that you are permanently banned. A shadowban is only temporary. Shadowbanning is not a new concept in the social media space. Other platforms have also been accused of doing the same, although it’s usually not something that users can always directly pinpoint is happening.
For TikTok, the same applies. There’s a chance that losing your popularity may be due to a shadowban, but it could also be due to a decline in the quality of your content compared to other creators. But one tell-tale sign is when your content no longer shows up in the For You feed.
There’s a reason it’s called a shadowban — you’ll be kept in the dark about what’s going on. You won’t get a message from the secret council of TikTok mods to inform you that you’ve been restricted.
Sure, there’s a chance your content has been getting worse (and, joking aside, that’s genuinely something to consider).
However, there are a few things to look out for if you feel you’ve been shadowbanned:
- Numbers nosedive. If you’ve been enjoying an upward trend in likes, views, and shares on your posted content and it suddenly stops, you might have been hit with the dreaded shadowban.
- Uploads down low. It might not be your wifi. You may be affected if your videos say “under review” or “processing” for an unusually long time.
- No longer For You. The For You page is the beating heart of TikTok. It’s also where your content should appear if things are going well. Have a friend who would typically see your posts on their FYP cross-reference to see if they’ve disappeared.
What causes shadow ban on TikTok
In order to use this social platform safely, you must adhere to its rules and regulations.
Check out TikTok’s community guidelines here.
And while TikTok has yet to issue an official statement using the term “shadowban”, we have it on good authority that violating the app’s guidelines may land you in the outfield.
According to the platform, “We will temporarily or permanently ban accounts and users involved in severe or repeated on-platform violations [of our Community Guidelines].”
From offensive language to violent or graphic content, there are a number of reasons why TikTok can choose to silently restrict your account.
The most common reasons include:
- Spam behavior
- Hate speech
- Fake news
- Copyrighted music
TikTok relies heavily on automated moderation to check if videos violate community guidelines. Also, if viewers “Report” a video, this could also trigger a shadowban.
However, TikTok doesn’t always get it right when it comes to mass moderation. Creators said that TikTok flagged videos that were debunking antisemitic comments as “violating community guidelines.”
This is often a challenge when it comes to mass, automated moderation. Using technology to protect a community from hate speech can easily become censorship—minimizing communities’ voices rather than amplifying them.
How to Remove a TikTok Shadowban?
How long does the TikTok shadow ban last? Usually, shadow bans last around two weeks before getting automatically removed. If you don’t do anything, your shadow ban will probably last two weeks. Some users have reported shadowbans lasting only 24 hours, while others have suggested up to a month. The general consensus, though, is 14 days
How do you get rid of a shadowban on TikTok? The answer: It’s complicated.
There’s no secret procedure on how to reverse a shadowban, you’ll most likely just have to ride this time period out and take a break from producing content on the platform.
However, a few simple steps could help keep your TikTok account on the straight, and narrow, and avoid striking out in the future:
1. Delete your flagged contents
At the point when you suspect a ban, search over your presents to figure out which was the offending party. Then, at that point, assuming you’ve recognized where the offending post is, eliminate it and trust that the algorithm will pardon you.
2. Reinstall the app
If you think you’ve successfully removed the offending post and want to test it out, try deleting and reinstalling the app on your device. There’s a chance you just needed to clear the cache or update the app in order to get it working again. Yes absolutely, that’s where probably the issue is coming from. If the issue persists, try clearing the application cache and data, logging out, and logging back in again.
3. Be Normal
That’s just good life advice, but it also applies to TikTok. If you act like a bot, TikTok’s moderation bots will find you. So once your temporary time-out is over, you should calm down with the following sprees and 100-a-day posting dumps. Don’t be spammy. Just be chill.
4. Avoid spam-like behavior on the app
This simply means avoid liking random videos in a spammy way, don’t like videos too quickly by just sliding through your for you page, and keep on liking any video that pops up. Also, stop your followers or other users from liking too many of your videos randomly on TikTok at a time.
You can include a short warning on your bio to notify them or monitor and block anyone who is randomly liking too many of your posts at the same time. Letting the people who come to like your videos randomly is a good practice because so many of them are ignorant to know this causes a shadow ban.
5. Follow community guidelines
Again, it’s worth reiterating — the community guidelines are there for a reason. And it’s not only posting inappropriate content that trips up the censors.
Tempted to hard-code songs into your TikTok posts because you can’t find them within the app? That’s a great reason for TikTok to flag you for copyright violation. Read the rulebook so that you know how to follow along.
6. Check your analytics
Following your analytics is a great way to save your posts from the watchful eye of the TikTok shadow Illuminati (okay, maybe I’m being too dramatic). You’ll be able to act fast if you notice you’ve stopped getting hits from the For You page.
If you really want to maintain an eye on your TikTok account’s performance, though, we’d recommend going beyond the built-in analytics with a third-party social media management tool. Something like, say, Hootsuite? (*ahem*)
From one intuitive dashboard, you can easily schedule TikToks, review and answer comments, and measure your success on the platform. Our TikTok scheduler will even recommend the best times to post your content for maximum engagement (unique to your account).
Apart from following the app’s community guidelines, it’s hard to know for certain why your account might face a shadowban. With a heavy reliance on automated moderation, TikTok’s technology can get it wrong.
However, the good news is that shadowbans don’t last forever — so if you’re on a TikTok timeout right now, sit tight. You’ll be back on the field in no time.
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