Many of us have heard of shadowbans on Instagram, but now that shadowbanning seems to have come to the TikTok platform, how should we adjust? Let’s go through what it means to be shadowbanned on TikTok, what to do if you think you are shadowbanned, and how you can prevent it from happening.
But before we dive too far in, let’s explore the problem that shadowbanning represents in itself, and why it’s even an issue. A shadowban is when your account has been blocked in a way without you realising, meaning the algorithm serves your content to a drastically reduced audience, omits your results from searches, and disables the ability of your content to show up on the For You Page. It means that if someone goes to search for your page via the search function they may not be able to find you, and the follower count you’ve worked so hard to build won’t matter much because only a fraction of them will be shown your content on their feeds.
Shadowbans occur when TikTok deems your account as a risk, whether that’s from posting content or interacting in a way that goes against their community guidelines. While a lot of the time this happens in error, due to misreporting and a lack of consistency across TikTok’s moderation teams, it can’t always be reversed and is often a 50/50 toss-up on whether you will have your content restored or even face your account being suspended. Shadowbanning can occur when your account has faced a number of community guideline strikes, reports or has been flagged - even if those strikes were reversed, TikTok will deem your account a risk.
So, you don’t have all day and night to read their lengthy Community Guidelines - we get it. At the end of the day, their guidelines are mostly just common sense, considering young people are in their user demographic. The main concerns you should keep in mind in terms of what to avoid include;
How do I know if I’ve been shadowbanned?
If you experience a sudden and drastic drop in engagement on your social videos that seems to be continual, rather than limited to one or two posts, this may be a sign that you have been shadowbanned. Your social video content will also not appear on the For You Page, though this is a little harder to measure. The most effective way to figure out if you’ve been shadowbanned is to see what happens when a friend searches for your account on their phone - do you appear under their search results? Does your content appear under the search results of a hashtag you’ve recently used? If not, but your account is still enabled, you might just have a shadowban on your hands.
How do I get rid of a shadowban or prevent my account from being shadowbanned?
The most important and obvious tip is to ensure your social video content is sticking by community guidelines. That means ensuring all your content is G-rated and appropriate for all audiences and doesn’t promote antisocial behaviour like violence or illegal activities. Spammy and overly sales-y posts will also see you penalised on the platform, as will any content that shows sensitive information like personal contact details. If you do have a piece of content flagged, we recommend taking it down immediately to prevent shadowban protocols from kicking in and ultimately give the platform less of a reason to suppress your content.
There is also the option of simply riding it out - shadowbans aren’t known to be permanent, and according to anecdotal evidence usually last between 2 to 4 weeks. It’s not the end of the world, and before long you can get straight back to your regular TikTok posting (following the guidelines, of course)!
Trying to work your way out of a shadowban, or maybe just going through a TikTok rut? Never fear, avails is here. Check out our quick and easy social video content creation packages here to get the ball rolling.