Of all the social media platforms to come to exist on the internet, Reddit might perhaps be the most moderated one. You can get banned — no complaints, btw! — for breaking the rules or spamming or just doing any unethical stuff. Among the bans that are imposed on Redditors, Shadowbans are known to be the harshest of them. No complaints, again, because we know it’s important to keep the website healthy and welcoming.
But what is a Shadowban, how do you know if your Reddit account is Shadowbanned, and how can you avoid them? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this post.
What is Shadowban on Reddit?
Shadowbanning is one of the first few types of banning on Reddit. The tool was used by the platform to prevent people from using Reddit if they’re found to violate any of its rules. When someone is shadowbanned on Reddit, their profile page and all of their submitted posts will only be visible to them when they’re logged into their account.
When you’re shadowbanned, only you and the moderator of the subreddit you’re posting on will be able to see your submitted post. Another thing to note is that a shadowban persists for your entire activity on Reddit, meaning anywhere you post on Reddit, your content won’t be visible to anyone barring you.
However, since the introduction of Account suspensions in November 2015, Reddit has slowly phased out shadowbans but not completely. If you noticed the Reddit announcement closer, you would find that the company mentions that suspensions replace shadowbans “for the vast majority of real humans”. This means you might still be shadowbanned on Reddit if you continue to violate the rules of both Reddit and subreddits.
How do you know if your Reddit account is Shadowbanned?
Since Reddit doesn’t notify you that your account has been shadowbanned like it would when you’re suspended from the platform, you’re forced to look for other ways to know whether or not you’re shadowbanned.
Method #1: Try accessing your Reddit post in Incognito mode
Perhaps the easiest and the most simple way of knowing if you have been shadowbanned is to check if your last post is visible to anyone outside of your account.
To get started, create a Reddit post if you haven’t posted any recently. While doing so, you need to make sure that your post doesn’t have any unnecessary links, has content relevant to the subreddit, and follows all the rules of Reddit and subreddit. We’re stressing on this because if your post doesn’t follow Reddit or the subreddit’s guidelines, the post might get deleted by the moderator or removed by the AutoModerator bot, and because of this, you may not be able to know if your account has been shadowbanned.
Once a post has been created, select its URL from your web browser and copy it.
When the post’s URL is copied onto your clipboard, open your browser’s incognito or private mode.
- On Chrome: Go to More > New Incognito Window.
- On Safari: Go to File > New Private Window.
- On Safari: Go to Menu > New Private Window.
After your browser’s incognito mode is enabled, paste the copied URL onto the browser tab and press the ‘Enter’ key.
If you’re able to see your post on Reddit without actually logging into your account, then it means that you’re NOT shadowbanned. In case, you cannot see your post on Reddit, it means you have been shadowbanned. To make sure this is true, try creating a new post on another subreddit and check if your post has been deleted immediately after submitting. If that’s the case, then yes, you have been shadowbanned. We’re sorry for the loss of your beloved Reddit account but go ahead and create a new one and this time make sure you follow all the rules of Reddit so you don’t run into a ban again.
Method #2: Post on /r/ShadowBan
Reddit has a dedicated subreddit /r/ShadowBan where users can enquire and know their Reddit fate once and for all. To check if you’ve been shadowbanned, go to the /r/ShadowBan subreddit and create a text post. It doesn’t have to be a well-scripted message, you just have to submit a post with random words and you’ll still get a response.
When you submit a post on this subreddit, you’ll get a reply from the subreddit’s bot, /u/MarkdownShadowBot that will tell you whether or not you have been shadowbanned. If you’re shadowbanned, the reply from MarkdownShadowBot will read “<your username>, you are shadowbanned”.
How else can you get banned on Reddit?
Besides getting shadowbanned, Reddit also implements other types of bans for restricting accounts on the platform. Depending on the violation you were a part of, you could receive a Subreddit Ban, Auto-moderator Ban, and Account suspension.
Subreddit Ban: Moderators can ban users from their subreddit on Reddit and the bans can last for a certain time or indefinitely. When you’re banned from a subreddit, you won’t be able to submit posts or add comments to a post on that particular subreddit. Users who are banned from a subreddit will receive a private message that shows the duration of the ban and a reason for the ban to come into effect (if provided by the moderator).
AutoModerator Ban: Some users can also be banned from a subreddit by the AutoModerator bot. If moderators enable it, the AutoModerator bot will be able to execute tasks on a subreddit like removing posts or comments made by some users. Unlike on subreddit bans, bans made by the AutoModerator bot still let banned users submit posts and comments but they will be instantly removed by the bot.
Account Suspension: Suspension on Reddit can be described as a blend of shadowban and subreddit ban. Like a Shadowban, account suspension can only be performed by Reddit admins and not moderators of a subreddit. At the same time, Reddit will send a notification to a suspended account similar to that of a subreddit ban.
When your account is suspended on Reddit, you may no longer be able to take part in Reddit votes, submit posts, comments, or send messages in private. Others will be able to view your account and all of its content if your account is temporarily suspended. Accounts that are permanently suspended will no longer display any user data when others view them.
Account suspensions can be considered as an upgrade over shadowbans as they offer a chance for users to correct their behavior without losing access to their accounts. At the same time, they allow Reddit admins to control the type of suspension and also offer suspended accounts more transparency about why they were suspended and for how long.
How to avoid getting banned
While there’s no clear indication of what might lead you to a ban, you should follow these suggestions to avoid running into one.
- Don’t use Reddit unless you’re 13 years and older.
- Don’t submit advertisements, unless they benefit others or are relevant to the subreddit you’re posting on.
- You might face immediate action if you’re caught posting spam links.
- Don’t post links from your own blog or another blog. Essentially, avoid posting content from a single source.
- Don’t harass, bully, threaten or promote hatred toward someone or a community.
- Don’t hassle other Reddit users or start following them out of nowhere.
- Don’t submit posts, advocate, or encourage doxxing on Reddit (share or search personal or confidential information of individuals) or ask for one, even in private without their permission.
- Don’t annoy or hassle admins and moderators.
- Do not cheat or engage in vote manipulation like asking for votes, responding to a request for votes, voting on threads you were redirected from another post or using multiple accounts to gain votes.
- Don’t go on downvoting posts and comments from the same Redditor.
- Don’t go on a reporting spree.
- Don’t impersonate someone else on Reddit with similar usernames or appearance.
- Don’t respond to private messages involving promotions and moneymaking techniques.
- Don’t post sexual content, child pornography, suggestive content involving minors, or any explicit content without the subject’s consent.
- Don’t send bulk private messages.
- If you’re posting content or hosting a subreddit, ensure that everything that’s submitted is labeled right so others have a predictable experience when going through the post/sub. This is even more important when the content is graphic, sexually explicit, or offensive.
- Don’t post, host, or ask for illegal content or aid in illegal transactions.
- Don’t try to find a way to break Reddit.
- Don’t try to evade bans.
- Don’t commit subscriber fraud.
- Don’t cause disruption in any Reddit community.
How to unban yourself on Reddit
If your account has been banned in any way, you can send a private message to Reddit admins asking them to means to evade your ban on the platform. For this, open this link on your computer after you’re signed in to your Reddit account.
When the page loads up, select the ‘Account Help’ option from the dropdown menu under ‘Subject’ and then script a message inside the text box under “Message”. You can write to them and ask about the type and duration of your ban on the platform as well as request them to reinstate your account back to its original state.
Alternatively, you can write to “[email protected]” and have a conversation with Reddit about the ban and request them to lift it.
Users who have gotten their accounts suspended will receive a notification at the time of their suspension. These users can then appeal their suspension by replying to this notification and know the severity of their infraction.
That’s all we have to share about Shadowbans on Reddit.
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