What is Shadow Banned? What You Need to Know

There are times when your social media engagement drops suddenly. When your content hardly appears in feeds.

It can be because of several reasons. It can be a bug, which is often an occasional issue, even with big websites. Another problem can possibly be that you have been banned! Yes! Earlier termed as ‘ghost banned’, ‘shadow banned’ is a situation that can make your online presence equivalent to non-existent. Here, platforms may not directly ban accounts, their algorithms may be restricting public visibility to your content without their knowledge. Accounts that have been shadowbanned are placed in an invisible mode. In other words, they become a "shadow" that no one sees but the banned person.

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The theory of shadow-banning gained prominence in 2018 when conservative political users claimed they got shadow banned.

Shadow banning is a publicly denied practice by social media. However, they themselves have acknowledged the fact that the algorithms of different social media impact what content is prioritized. Often, posts stay invisible.

Members in a survey named ‘Posting Into the Void’ claimed four forms of shadowbans:

  1. A username or hashtag does not appear in search suggestions
  2. Blocking some features, such as likes and comments
  3. Decreased follower engagement
  4. A temporary prohibition that returns back to normal after an indeterminate time

Shadow bans are a practice reported on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. They are effective but tricky to identify. You could be seeing a change in search or newsfeed, but because the algorithms are confidential to social media corporations and are not made public, you can’t pinpoint it.

We have to think of methods to dodge getting shadowbanned on any social media platform. Different social media platforms have their own criteria for content acceptance and possible shadowbans. Therefore, it’s critical to follow their guidelines to prevent negative consequences.

Some general things to do in order to avoid a shadowban can be as follows:

  • Respect the terms of service for every single platform you use
  • Avoid discussing unlawful issues
  • Do not share content if you are not sure about its acceptability
  • Do not constantly publish links or copy-paste information
  • Treat other users with respect and dignity
  • Do not use prohibited hashtags
  • Follow and study influential users in your category

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Shadow-banning done?

Shadowbanning occurs when any unethical activity according to the platform’s algorithms is observed. The postings or activity are hidden from other users, and the banned person never receives an official ban or notification.

Why do websites apply shadowbans rather than simply notifying users?

Websites do this not to let the spammers know. If spammers realize they've been banned, they'll instantly start looking for ways to get past it, which is commonly done by creating new accounts. Under a shadowban, they continue to post since they are unaware they have been restricted.

How do you know that you are shadowbanned on Facebook?

If you're concerned that your personal page, company page, or group may have been shadowbanned on Facebook, look for a shift in engagement levels on recent posts. If you see a marked decrease in interaction, views, or impressions, you may have been shadowbanned.

How do I lift my shadow ban?

The steps for ending a shadowban change per site. Some people only have to wait for a certain amount of time, while others must contact customer support.

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