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What does Shadowbanned mean on TikTok?

Shadowban has been a term lurking in a disappointing corner of the internet. The term has recently come to be associated with the famous social media app TikTok. As the number of TikTok users increases, there are more and more reports popping up about accounts getting shadowbanned.

If your account has been shadowbanned or you’re worried about the same happening, here is everything you need to know about it.

What is shadowbanned on TikTok

As the name suggests, shadowbanned is a form of restriction in which either your entire account or certain aspects of it are not allowed for public viewing. The term is not exclusive to TikTok, although it has gained popularity recently because of the social media app.

When an account is shadowbanned, it will not appear on hashtag searches, music searches, or even on the For You page. Obviously, if you are a creator, this effect is quite noticeable since that is the core of your following.

There remains some uncertainty in regard to shadowbanning, so let’s clear it up. When you get shadowbanned, your account is not deactivated; neither are you locked out of your account. The main idea behind a shadowban seems to be TikTok’s way of letting you know that your account is not generating enough traffic. However, since there is no official data available about it, we can only postulate.

It seems that when your account gets shadowbanned, your followers can still access and like your content; they can even search for your TikTok username and find you. The main difference is that your content does no longer gets pushed by TikTok.

Related: What is TikTok FYP and why it matters the most for TikTokers?

Is the shadowban real?

This seems to be the question floating around discussion boards. TikTok has, of course, nothing to say about it. In fact, there is no mention of the term ‘shadowban’ anywhere in their Help center or Community guidelines pages.

However, a few users have come forward with damning evidence as to what can only be called a shadowban, in which their accounts no longer show up in searches. So even though there is no official statement about the same, we are inclined to believe that such a ban does exist. There are a few ways to find out if your account could be shadowbanned. Read on to find out.

Am I shadowbanned?

There are no immediate tell-tale signs when your account gets shadowbanned. In fact, many users do not realize until much later. TikTok does not send you a notice letting you know that your content will no longer be promoted.

However, there are a few ways you can check for yourself. The first thing you will notice is that your videos are getting fewer views (or no views in some cases). This is because TikTok is no longer pushing your content out for people to view.

As mentioned above, TikTok creators who have gotten their account shadowbanned claim that their accounts no longer show up in three main areas of TikTok: Hashtag searches, Music searches, For You Page. Surprisingly, if you are logged into your (shadowbanned) account, you cannot view the change. In order to see the difference, you need to log out of your account, and access TikTok from an account that does not follow you.

Hashtag searches

Hashtags can be attached to your content to help users find your videos better. They act as a search engine by grouping all videos with similar content together. To check if your videos are being excluded from hashtag searches, create a unique hashtag, and attach it to your video.

Now access TikTok from another account that does not follow you. Go to your profile, tap on the video, then tap on the hashtag. If you do not see your video show up, it could be that your account has been shadowbanned.

Music searches

You can attach music to your videos on TikTok. When you do, a music button appears beside your video, to help TikTokers better identify the music. Sound snippets work in a similar way to hashtag searches in which they list out all videos that use the same music. The list is populated in descending order with the videos with the most number of likes at the top.

To check if your videos are being excluded from Music searches, access your profile from another account, tap on a video, then tap on the music button. Note the number of views your video has, and look for it in the spot it should be on the list. If you don’t see it there, it could be an indicator that your account has been shadowbanned.

For You Page

Unfortunately, there is no real way to find out if your content is being pushed to the FYP of other TikTokers. You could check TikTok analytics (you need TikTok Pro for that), to get an idea of how many views are flowing if from the For You Page. While this is not a definitive indicator, if you compare it to previous posts, you might see a drastic drop in views.

How do you get shadowbanned

There seem to be a few things that could get your account shadowbanned on TikTok. However, it’s is not a definitive list. There are TikTok creators that claim they have done nothing on the list but still ended up being shadowbanned. But this is a good list of things to avoid in general to prevent your account from getting reported in any way.

  • Nudity: Nudity of any form is strictly banned on TikTok. If you remember the now discontinued ‘Transparent filter’, a number of accounts got reported for flashing.
  • Violence or dangerous behavior: It may not seem dangerous to you, but viewers looking at your content might find it so, and thus report it. Remember, you never know how far your content may reach on TikTok.
  • Lying about your age (younger than 14): TikTok has a minimum age restriction that requires users to be over 14 years of age. If TikTok identifies your account as an underage one, you could face a ban.
  • Bot followers: Bot followers are strictly prohibited by TikTok. The app does not let you gain followers, likes, or views without using organic metrics. So if you bought a bunch of followers, you should be on the lookout. Don’t forget, bot followers do not interact with your content. So if you have 1000 followers but no likes and comments, it can be quite obvious that you have bought followers.

Basically, anything that goes against TikTok’s Community Guidelines can cause your account to get shadowbanned. If you want to read through the guidelines yourself, check out the like to the official guidelines page below.

Link: TikTok Community Guidelines

How to remove shadowban

Now, let’s just say right off the bat, there is no guarantee that these will work. Some users claim that some of them do, others say they don’t. So when you try them, make sure you keep your fingers tightly crossed. Here are some things you could try to get your account unshadowbanned (is that a word?).

  • Delete all content that you posted since your account got shadowbanned. Since there is no way of know which of your videos did the deed, your safest bet is to delete all videos since that time.
  • Switch up your content. Try posting more engaging content, and obviously don’t post anything that defies the Community Guidelines.
  • Look through TikTok analytics to find out which videos got a lot of attention. These could be the troublesome ones. Don’t forget to always go through your comments; you could get a clearer idea of what went wrong with your content by simply reading your comments.
  • If all else fails, create a new account on TikTok. However, before you do, make sure that you are using a different IP address than the one that got shadowbanned. It could be possible that TikTok also banned your IP.

How long does a TikTok Shadowban last?

Many reports claim that the ban lasts for approximately 14 days, after which you should see a sudden spike in your views. However, this only seems to be the case if the offensive video is taken down. So if you know what video caused the shadowban, the first thing to do is to take that video down.

There are also creators that say that their ban has been on for months. So there is no real clarity on this aspect.

Well, there you have it. We hope this article helped. If you have any queries, feel free to reach out to us in the comments below. 

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