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Shadow Banning

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What is Shadow Banning on TikTok?

In this article, we’ll explore what shadow banning is, how it works on TikTok, and what you can do if your account has been shadow banned.

The Covid-19 pandemic came with its unique set of challenges. One of them involved a global shutdown of public spaces. Workplaces were not exempt, as many firms were forced to close owing to the pandemic’s harsh consequences. However, losses for one would mean gains for the other as the lockdown aided the meteoric rise of some businesses. One of which is the video-sharing app, TikTok.

The concept of shadow banning is not new. Notable social media apps such as Instagram and Facebook adopt shadowbans. TikTok has become the go-to platform for content creators seeking to build a name for themselves. According to a BussinessofApps study, TikTok has an estimated 1 billion users. Thus it is understandable that content creators are making it the centerpiece of their content creation. 

What is Shadowbanning? 

Shadowbanning, also known as stealth banning, ghost banning, or comment ghosting, is the practice of excluding or partially excluding a person or their content from certain portions of an online community so that the user is unaware of their exclusion.

Shadowbanning is a term used to describe when a platform or service blocks or partially blocks a user’s visibility or access to a website without alerting them. 

Shadowbanning on TikTok takes the same form, it restricts the parts of the sites where your videos can pop up. 

When a user is shadowbanned by the app, their content receives significantly less engagement than usual, because their videos are virtually invisible to their usual audience. This is an attempt to reduce their visibility on people’s For You Pages while their content is assessed further. 

Why does TikTok Employ Shadowbanning?

TikTok employs shadow banning to make sure that users keep to its guidelines and terms of agreement. Like many other social media platforms, TikTok closely monitors its users to ensure that feeds remain clean and acceptable for users, and that content creators follow a broad list of ‘community norms,’ which include prohibitions on sex, violence, and drug use.

Shadow Banning TikTok - Net Influencer

Employing shadow bans is one of the many ways the new social media giant is going about upholding its guidelines. TikTok has been questioned a lot within the past year about its moral stance, with India temporarily banning it and the Donald Trump-led administration placing strict restrictions on it. Little wonder why TikTok has become proactive by seeking to clean out people’s feeds and enforcing its community guidelines. 

How to Know if You Are Shadowbanned  by TikTok

TikTok ghost bans are noticeable. Especially if you’re concerned about engagements and monitor them every day. To know if you have been shadowbanned on TikTok, you can go through the following processes:

Check Your Engagements:

If there’s a massive drop in engagements in such a short period of time, then it’s likely that you have been shadowbanned. Although not every drop in engagement means you have been shadowbanned, sometimes accounts go through changes which could affect the visibility of your content, but if the change is sudden, and drastic, then it’s possible you have been shadowbanned. Engagements include views, likes, comments, and shares.

Ask your friends if you still appear on their “For You” pages:

Another way to know if you have been shadowbanned is to check if you still appear on the For You pages of your friends and followers. If you still do, then great, but if you don’t, then there is a likelihood you have been shadowbanned.

Why Might an Account Be Shadowbanned by TikTok?

TikTok can place a shadowban on you for a variety of reasons, some of them include:

  • Spam Behavior: the term “follow for follow” is one that avid social media users are familiar with. To gain followers, many people follow a lot of people, just to get a follow back. TikTok may confuse you for a robot or a spammer if you follow a significant number of users in a short period of time.
  • Inappropriate content: there are a host of things that TikTok deems inappropriate, and who can blame them. We live in an utterly sensitive world where what we post goes a long way in affecting the lives of others. Hence TikTok frowns at, content that incites violence, organized hate, racist, religious or sexual discrimination of any sort. They also frown on drugs, displaying arms, and even gambling. All these are spelled out in their community guidelines.
Shadow Banning TikTok - Net Influencer

How Long Does a TikTok Ghost Ban Last? 

Well generally, a TikTok shadow ban could last anywhere between 24 hours to even weeks. It all depends on the severity of the offense. However, there have been reports of people who never got their bans lifted and had to create entirely new accounts. 

If You Ever Get Shadowbanned, Here Are a Few Things You Can Do

  • Stop any activity that goes against the terms of service. TikTok’s terms of service are clearly spelled out. Taking a look at them again can give an idea of what terms are being broken. This would help to figure out what activity is frowned at, and could set you on the right track to getting the ghost ban lifted. 
  • Revoke Permissions for Any Unapproved Third-Party Apps: some TikTokers use third-party apps to help increase following, schedule posts, and monitor engagements. If any of these apps are unapproved by TikTok then it’ll be a good idea to stop using them.
  • Avoid Using Banned or Restricted Hashtags: these hashtags are banned for a reason. Keeping away from them would mean keeping your account clean. 
  • Reach Out to TikTok support: it’s always a good idea to reach out to the support arm of the company. No one is in a better position to provide help.
  • Avoid Spam Behavior: don’t act like a bot. 
  • Avoid Getting Reported: upholding community guidelines and steering clear of controversial or discriminatory comments would keep you from getting reported.
  • Take a Break from TikTok: Sometimes a break is all you need. A lack of activity on your TikTok account could help it get back to being on the For You pages of those that are interested in your content.

Conclusion

TikTok’s arguments for Shadowbanning accounts are absolutely reasonable. Following the community guidelines is the most effective approach to ensure that your account is secure and that your content is easily available to your target audience. If you want to build a strong brand on the app, staying away from shadowbans is the greatest advice.

David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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