Are You Shadowbanned? How to Check & Fix it - Social Media Explorer
Are You Shadowbanned? How to Check & Fix it
Are You Shadowbanned? How to Check & Fix it

Managing a social media account is a key part of many businesses and – increasingly – individuals looking to grow their personal brand. And of course the fact that your accounts are functioning optimally is paramount for your success.

Each post you make, each interaction with your audience furthers your brand’s growth— connecting you with the world at your fingertips. Unfortunately, a single misstep can undermine all these efforts, pushing you into the shadows of “shadowbanning.”

You might have heard this word used before, or you might even be aware that getting shadowbanned can be hugely damaging for some. But what is shadowbanning, and how can you avoid it?

What is Shadowbanning?

Shadowbanning, also known as “stealth banning,” “ghost banning,” or “comment ghosting,” is a practise that most social media platforms employ to limit a user’s visibility. Without any explicit notification, the platform restricts the user’s content in such a way that it diminishes their engagement on the platform.

To the user, everything seems perfectly functional: posts are published, and comments are made. But to the outside world, this content fades into obscurity. The user’s posts will not be visible to their audience, and attempts at communication are nothing but whispers in the wind.

Shadowbanning is a subtle yet damaging form of censorship, wherein without straying into the overt domain of account suspension, platforms can effectively stifle voices and subtly manipulate online discourse.

Most social media platforms, from Facebook and Instagram, to X (aka Twitter) and TikTok, will use some form of algorithmic blocking.

How Do You Get Shadowbanned?

Shadowbanning is not a random occurrence, and there’s usually a reason behind it. Each platform has its community guidelines, and if these rules are repeatedly broken, consequences are likely to follow. However, these rules are not always convincingly clear, and actions like spamming, posting inappropriate content, or even excessive following, can inadvertently trigger the platform’s algorithm leading to a shadowban.

There’s another element at play here: the user reports.

Multiple reports against a profile for violation of guidelines dramatically improve the chances of getting shadowbanned.

This can be especially tricky if you post content that might be seen as potentially divisive, or for adult content too. Many adult performers complain about their social media accounts being either blocked or shadowbanned, which is also often why they run two or more accounts in case of such an occurance.

Interestingly, algorithms also examine the broader behaviour patterns – if one is seen to associate frequently with accounts that violate community standards, they might face similar effects.

being shadowbanned can be damaging to a social media influencer

Can Anyone Get Shadowbanned?

While shadowbanning was initially started to curb trolls and bots, over time, it has extended to general users as well, with all platforms treating everyone equally.

If you violate guidelines, irrespective of whether you’re a social media newbie, an influential player, or even a celebrity, you run the risk of being shadowbanned.

Typically, accounts that engage in what can be seen as ‘risky’ content is most likely to find a shadowban in place. These may include:

  • OnlyFans models and adult entertainment personalities
  • Crypto influencers
  • Outspoken critics of the government or culture
  • People who engage (and argue) with people online

However, you can also get shadowbanned for one comment if you are perceived to have been harassing people, posting hateful or racist comments or for nudity on some platforms such as Instagram.

How Can You Tell If You’ve Been Shadowbanned?

Confirming a shadowban is tricky, especially as platforms are typically tight-lipped about these practices and when they are liable to a ban. However, certain signs may indicate a possible shadowban:

  1. Sudden Drop in Engagement: If you witness a sudden, unexplained decrease in likes, comments, shares or followers, it could be a result of shadowbanning.
  2. Invisibility on Hashtags: Use a less-populated hashtag in your post and then check from a different account (ideally not following you) whether your post is visible under that hashtag. If it isn’t, you may have been shadowbanned.
  3. Unseen Comments: Leave comments under different posts and ask someone not following you if they can see them. If they can’t, this could be a sign.
  4. Use Online Tools: Some online tools claim to confirm if an account has been shadowbanned. While these aren’t foolproof, they can provide some insight. The shadowban checker from Spikerz is a free tool that allows you to check if you have been shadowbanned.

How Can You Get Un-Shadowbanned?

Most shadowbans are temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. If you suspect one, the first step should be understanding and acknowledging the potential cause. Take a break from any suspicious activities. Respect community guidelines, avoid spam-like behaviours and make sure your content is within permissible limits.

After a few days, slowly return to your usual activity levels, maintaining strict adherence to guidelines. Remember, rapid shifts in activity may trigger alarm bells in the algorithms. Slow and steady is the key.

How to Avoid Getting Shadowbanned in Future?

Practising ethical and responsible social media usage is the best defence against shadowbanning. Here are some pro-tips:

  1. Understand Community Guidelines: Make sure to read and understand the guidelines of each platform that you are active on.
  2. Avoid Spammy Behaviour: Incessantly posting the same content, aggressive following or unfollowing, and using irrelevant and overpopulated hashtags can raise flags.
  3. Engage Meaningfully and Respectfully: Endeavor to create useful, engaging, and respectful content.
  4. Use Automation Cautiously: Excessive use of automation tools for posting, liking, or commenting can be viewed as bot-like behaviour, potentially leading to shadowbanning. Use them sparingly.

By leveraging these insights, every social media influencer can navigate the world of shadowbanning. Awareness is the key. Understand the rules, play the game right, and the world of social media will open up to you, unshadowed and unrestrained.

After all, our online presence isn’t merely about existing, but about making an impact and fostering genuine connections along the way.

SME Paid Under

About the Author

Gesten van der Post
Content marketer, blogger, occasional journalist and casual crypto trader.

VIP Explorer’s Club