On a highly competitive social media app like TikTok, visibility is everything. Anyone on the platform can go viral overnight, but all creators know that while good content can get you far, luck is what will get you at the top of the “For You” feed. But what if you’re experiencing the opposite?
If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in engagement with your content, chances are that you’ve been shadowbanned on TikTok. Sounds scary, right? But don’t worry! In this article, we give you the full scoop on what a TikTok shadowban is, how it happens, how to tell if you’ve been shadowbanned, and – most importantly – how to get unshadowbanned on TikTok!
What Is A TikTok Shadowban?
Shadowbanning (also known as ghost banning or stealth banning) is when your TikTok account has been flagged by the system and prevents your content from showing up on the “For You” page or hashtag results. Needless to say, it greatly limits your visibility and reach to other users. What’s worse – it’s done without your knowledge. (Hence, shadow.)
No need to panic though! TikTok shadowbans usually only last for a short period of time, maybe up to two weeks. (Okay, that is pretty long by internet standards, but it beats getting permanently banned!)
But while the situation may just be temporary, shadowbans are definitely things you want to avoid. At the start of a shadowbanned period, you’ll probably notice a drop in both your number of followers and number of views, but as the shadowban progresses, you might even become unable to enter hashtags or post content on your TikTok account altogether. Yikes!
So how do you get shadowbanned in the first place?
How Do You Get Shadowbanned On TikTok?
Shadowbanning isn’t new. Other platforms like Twitter or Instagram use it as a safety precaution against accounts showing suspicious behavior. Similarly, the TikTok algorithm combs through posts for spam behavior or violations of TikTok rules. For example, here are a few things that could earn you a red flag on the app:
- Liking too many posts a day (especially from a new account)
- Following too many accounts a day (again, especially from a new account)
- Posting inappropriate content that contains nudity, drugs, hate speech, fake news, copyrighted music, etc.
Because TikTok is so huge, it’s impossible for the moderators to manually review each and every video that gets posted. But because the evaluations are done by TikTok’s algorithm and not by a person, things can slip through the cracks and somebody can get shadowbanned by the algorithm by mistake.
However, it is also possible that your account has been shadowbanned on purpose. Since TikTok users are notified of other types of disciplinary actions (such as a temporary ban or a video removal), being shadowbanned might suggest that your account is currently being evaluated and is being partially blocked as a preventive measure.
If you think you’ve been TikTok shadowbanned, check that your most recent video is in line with TikTok’s Community Guidelines. If it violates the rules, it might be best to delete it.
How To Know If You’re Shadowbanned On TikTok
Short answer: You can’t. Not for sure, at least.
By nature, a shadowban is designed so that the users won’t be able to tell that their account is being limited. Short of TikTok’s support staff notifying you about it, there is really no way to tell for sure if your account has been shadowbanned. However, with a sharp eye and a keen sense, you might be able to extrapolate it from your TikTok account analytics.
TikTok users can view their Analytics page from both the TikTok app and desktop website. The Analytics page shows useful information like which of your TikTok videos are performing the best, how many followers you’ve gained since you started, and number of video shares across all time.
The TikTok Analytics page can help you easily monitor your engagement, making it easier for you to notice if there has been a sudden drop in your account traffic. If this is the case, there is a possibility that you might be shadowbanned.
Another way to help you evaluate if you’ve been shadowbanned is to enlist the help of one of your followers. During a TikTok shadowban, your videos will not be visible in the search results or on the “For You” page. You also won’t be able to receive new likes or new comments from others. If the other user isn’t able to search for your videos, like or comment on your posts, then there’s a very strong possibility that you have been shadowbanned on TikTok.
How To Get Unshadowbanned On TikTok
Now that we know what a shadowban is, the possible reasons for it, and how to tell if your account really is being shadowbanned, here are some useful tips on how to get unshadowbanned on TikTok.
Uninstall And Reinstall Your TikTok App
Chances are your account isn’t shadowbanned at all and your app is just acting a little funny. Uninstalling and reinstalling your TikTok app will clear your cache and might get rid of the hiccup.
Delete Videos That Go Against TikTok Community Guidelines
As mentioned earlier, one of the possible reasons for getting a shadowban is that you have uploaded a video that breaks the rules. Review your recent videos and take down any of the ones that you think may be in violation of Community Guidelines. With the contentious posts removed, your account may be restored in no time.
Upgrade To A Pro Account
Contrary to what it sounds like, you don’t have to pay for it! Upgrading to a Pro Account is free and allows you to access more user analytics so that you can really see how your content is doing. You might find that you aren’t shadowbanned but your audience is just naturally waning off. This can help you decide on what kind of content to create to have a wider reach.
Wait It Out
If you think your account might have been flagged because of spam behavior such as liking too many posts or following too many accounts in one day, it might be a good idea to put down your phone and wait it out for a few days. Use that time to create content so you have videos to upload when you come back!
How To Avoid Getting Shadowbanned In The Future
Because TikTok support doesn’t explicitly state their shadowbanning techniques, it can be hard to say for sure what can get you shadowbanned in the first place. Based on other users’ experiences, it most likely happens because of an account displaying spam behavior or posting an inappropriate video.
To avoid getting shadowbanned in the future, make sure to pace yourself when using the app and make sure your content is in line with TikTok’s Community Guidelines before posting. Repeated instances of not following the rules might get you banned for real, so be careful!
Even though shadowbans sound scary and can negatively impact your TikTok’s account growth, it doesn’t mean that you’re permanently banned. Understanding what gets you banned and remembering the Community Guidelines can help you avoid getting shadowbanned in the future too. Take note, however, that if you’ve been shadowbanned before, you’ll have to be a bit more careful with how you use the platform and what you post so you don’t get shadowbanned (or worse, just straight up banned!) again.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that shadowbans are designed to protect the TikTok community from the likes of bots and hackers, ensuring a safer, more enjoyable experience for everyone – including you.