What is a shadowban on TikTok?
The Shadowban is when the app removes videos or temporarily bans your account from both the For You page and the hashtag or search results. But there’s a catch: You don’t get notified when you have been Shadowbanned on TikTok. So, if suddenly your videos aren’t receiving likes or engagement of any kind, this might have happened to you (if so, don’t panic!).
TikTok Shadowbans users who have somehow violated community guidelines of the app, whether in terms of content, copyright guidelines, spam, etc. The TikTok algorithm uses an automatic process to enact these bans, so it’s essential to understand the inner workings of the app to best avoid the ban yourself.
While the Shadowban used to last approximately 24 hours, users are now seeing bans lasting up to 2 weeks. During these two weeks, users won’t be able to make videos unless they are public, enter new tags, appear in the search results, appear on the feed, receive likes, receive comments, or gain new followers.
As you can imagine, this can be particularly damaging for any brand looking to grow or maintain a loyal TikTok following. So if you do experience a significant, sudden drop in engagement, there’s no need to panic, as this might be the culprit, and there are ways to fix and avoid it.
How to avoid a shadowban on TikTok
The most important step in avoiding the Shadowban is obvious: abide by TikTok’s community guidelines. Avoid posting anything that may be flagged as inappropriate, offensive, insensitive, triggering, copyrighted, inaccurate, the list goes on… (but it isn’t infinite, so make sure you give it a read). Even following or liking too many posts or accounts in one day could get you flagged as spam, so be cognizant of how you’re using the app.
While this might seem like a dead giveaway, it is still an important reminder to spend some extra time reviewing your content and considering how it might affect all communities on TikTok. Before posting, run your content by a diverse team of colleagues and consider how those with different perspectives might receive your content. Also, consider both the audience you already have on TikTok and the audience you’re hoping to reach, and ensure there is no chance your content could be considered problematic to followers old and new, as well as the TikTok algorithm itself.
Another easy way to avoid the ban is simply creating content that is original, creative, and inclusive. (This is a great tip in general, but especially for evading the wrath of the algorithm.)
How to get shadowbanned on TikTok
If you’re wondering why you might have gotten shadow banned on TikTok, there could be a number of reasons, and here are some of the reasons you could have your videos hidden from the feeds of millions:
Under TikTok’s community guidelines, you can’t post anything that might be “forbidden” and guess what? Adult content is considered forbidden. If you post anything that includes nudity, sexually explicit content, or pornography, it could get you shadow-banned or permanently banned from TikTok.
You’re stealing people’s content
Whoops, this is not the way to go viral. While copying and expanding on other people’s content is okay, if you’re completely stealing people’s content and passing it off as your own, you’re going to get into trouble. AKA: shadow banned.
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If you’re being abusive or harassing someone on TikTok, that’s a big no-no and you could be shadow banned and/or completely removed from the app. If you post anything that could be deemed as hate on the app, you are at risk of going bye-bye.
How to fix a shadowban on TikTok
If you do happen to get Shadowbanned on TikTok, take some deep breaths. This isn’t the end of the world. While there is no one way to fix this (as the Shadowban itself is a bit of a gray area), there are some things you can do that will help you get your account back up and running and get you reconnected with your audience:
Deleting your recent video is a great place to start. It might be what was flagged by the algorithm (or reported by another TikTok user), so getting it off your feed might lift the ban.
If that doesn’t do the trick, try deleting and redownloading the app. This might seem like an easy turn-it-off-then-turn-it-back-on solution, but sometimes the app glitches and it might need an update to continue running properly.
Switching to a Pro Account (if you aren’t already using one) might also help mitigate the issue. This will allow you to monitor and analyze your engagement, so you can quickly recognize if you have been Shadowbanned on TikTok. You can also monitor which videos of yours are most successful and which may have triggered some followers or the algorithm, so you can remove offensive content and hopefully lift the ban.
And if these tips don’t work, it’s okay to ride it out. Once it’s over, you’ll know better for next time, and you’ll have had some time off to draft some new content for your return!