The Shadowban—What Is It and How To Avoid It On Social Media

If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve probably heard of the term “shadowban.” But what is a shadowban, really? In short, a shadowban is when a social media platform hides or deprioritizes a user from its site without that user’s knowledge. It could be an Instagram shadowban or on Twitter.

Usually, the user only finds out about the shadowban after trying to post content and realizing that no one can see it. The most popular include a shadowban on Twitter and a shadowban on the Instagram network.

shadownban on Twitter or Instagram
Do you think you have a Twitter shadowban or an Instagram shadowban?

A shadowban is different than a complete ban from a social network. A complete ban would not allow you to post or in some cases not even log into your social media network.

Why Have You Been Shadowbanned?

There are a few different reasons why a social media platform might shadowban a user. The most common reason is that the platform believes that the user is spamming other users or posting inappropriate content. In some cases, a shadowban can also be the result of a technical error on the part of the social media platform.

Regardless of the reason, being shadowbanned can be frustrating—and it can even hurt your business if you rely on social media to market your products or services.

Twitter Shadowbans

First, check to see if your posts are not seen from view. On Twitter, for example, this can be done by looking at your “recent activity.” If none of your recent tweets are shown, it’s likely that you’ve been shadowbanned.

check for shadowban twitter
See if your account shows up in the search engines.

Notice how interesting it is to see your public Twitter lists show up in the search engine?

Another way to tell is by looking at your follower count. If it suddenly drops dramatically, that’s another sign that you may have a shadowban.

Finally, try logging out of your account and searching for your username. If you can’t find yourself anywhere in the search results, it’s likely that you have a Twitter shadowban.

If you think you have a ban, the best course of action is to reach out to the platform directly and ask why. In some cases, they’ll lift the ban and give you back access to your account.

Recently Elon Musk tweeted that some accounts may be shadowbanned on Twitter by the social network. Who is decide if a tweet is negative or hate speech though?

An Update On Twitter Shadowbans

This is exciting to see as Elon tweeted about a software update so you will know if you have been shadowbanned on Twitter. I hope Facebook, Instagram, and other social media networks will follow suit with this new software capability. Knowing WHY is key to helping your social media user base know what they did.

However, does shadowbanning interfere with our FREEDOM of SPEECH?

Does shadowbanning interfere with our FREEDOM of SPEECH? #shadowbanning Click To Tweet

Shadowban On Instagram

Instagram is another place infamously known for shadowbans. However, Instagram itself does not admit to the shadowban of accounts on its own network. But if you listen to many of its users, it is REAL for sure. Even those with business accounts have been known to have an Instagram shadowban.

Their posts on Instagram cannot be found unless you go to their profile. You will not be able to find them via their hashtags on the Instagram network.

Now, you can check your account status to see if there are any violations there according to Instagram. (You can also do this on Facebook with pages. Even though you may have an okay status on Facebook, you may have an unpublished Facebook page.)

Instagram account status
Check your status.

You can watch the video below and see what types of shadowbans there are on Instagram. Notice that the reach of your posts goes way down when this happens to you.

What Are Some Reasons For An Instagram Shadowban?

  • Hashtags
  • Link in bio
  • Photos
  • Repetitive comments
  • Fake reviews or ratings
  • Degrading of others
  • and the obvious sexual or violent images.

You can read more in their community guidelines. 

However, seeing that hashtags could get you shadowbanned, what if you didn’t use any? Just thinking aloud here. There is no 100% way to check if your hashtags are in the ban.

You can research this and see there is no 100% way of knowing or proof. It appears to be more speculative.

How To Tell If You Have A Ban On Your Account

As we mentioned before, one of the most frustrating things about a shadowban is not knowing when it happens to you. After all, if you can’t see your own content, how are you to know that no one else can see it either?

There are a few telltale signs that you may have a shadowban. First, check to see if your content is in your feed. If it’s not, there’s a good chance you have a shadowban. Another way to tell is by looking at your post-engagement statistics.

If you’re seeing a sudden drop-off in likes, comments, and shares, that could also be an indication that you have a ban.

Finally, try logging out of your account and searching for your username. If you can’t find your profile when you’re logged out, chances are you have a shadowban.

How To Avoid A Shadowban

The best way to avoid a shadowban is to play by the rules. Every social media platform has a different set of guidelines that users need to know to follow. Familiarize yourself with these guidelines and make sure you’re not violating any of them with your content.

In particular, pay attention to any rules against spamming or posting inappropriate content—these are the most common reasons for receiving a shadowban.

Another thing you can do to avoid a ban is to spread your content across multiple platforms. That way, even if one platform does ban you, you’ll still have a presence on other sites. I’ve always said, never have all your social media eggs in one basket!

avoid shadowban
Be careful not to put all your social media eggs in one basket to avoid a shadowban.

And lastly, make sure you’re using high-quality images and videos in your posts—low-quality content is more likely to get a red flag by algorithms and could lead to a ban.

Conclusion

No one wants a shadowban—but unfortunately, it’s something that happens to even the most well-meaning social media users and marketers. The best way to avoid a ban is to familiarize yourself with the rules of each platform and make sure your content doesn’t violate any of them. (And even with that, you may still find yourself with one, so prepare by having other networks and an email list.)

You should also try to spread your content across multiple platforms so that you’re not relying on just one site for all of your traffic.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your content continues to reach its intended audience—and avoid any unwanted surprises down the road.

Your Turn

Have you ever had a shadowban? If so, how long did it last? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.

view private instagram account
Want to view a private Instagram account? This tool will help you do that.

 

Lisa Sicard
  • Hi Lisa,
    I had it all, restricted, banned for a week, shadow banned 🙂 I do not think this has to do only with community standards and guidelines. As I do not care and post what I want and are not dependent, I was also aware of what is going on. Sometimes even when I did not post much, I got restricted. Even one time because of a harmless quote. Also, one of my Pages had suddenly 10 400 000 reach, a 17000% increase, and after a while, it went down to 100 00 and 30 000. I have the feeling they experiment with AI.
    But I hope that your suggestions help people to avoid getting shadowbanned.
    Thank you
    Erika

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Erika, me too – had it all. That’s a great point, it could be the AI, I was told by a Twitter email I got caught up in the bots. Sounds like AI to me. Thanks for your input on this one and have a wonderful day ahead Erika.

  • Hello Lisa,

    I haven’t faced shadowban as I am quite active on all social media channels and work as per their content policies. You have shared everything in detail to avoid shadowban on social media sites. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips.

    Regards,
    Vishwajeet Kumar

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Vishwajeet, I’m glad to hear you have not had a shadowban. That’s great. And now you know how you can check if you find yourself wondering about it. Thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment on this one. Have a fabulous day.

  • I’ve never heard of the term “shadowban” but it’s very interesting. To date I don’t believe I’ve been shadowbanned from the major social networks, and I hope it doesn’t happen. It’s surprising that a link in a Instagram profile can cause you to be shadowbanned. This is counter-productive time wise for a marketer who thinks their content is being seen online when it’s really not.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Randall, well I found out you are not the only one. On Instagram, several people commented on my post that they too had not heard of it before. At times I have thought I was as engagement went down. However, it wasn’t the case according to the tools I used to check. It amazes me that Instagram keeps denying it and yet Elon says it will happen on Twitter under certain conditions. Thanks for coming by Randall and have a great day and Happy Thanksgiving.

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