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TikTok Shadow Ban: What is it, and how do you stop it?

Jan 31, 2023

Social Media Platforms

TikTok Shadow Ban: What is it, and how do you stop it?

Are you the owner of a viral TikTok or two? 

There’s a high chance that your fame has propelled you into your dream role of being a creator on the world’s most talked about app. Any TikToks you post from here on are guaranteed high engagement and life’s generally great for you!

But what happens when engagement isn’t so high?

Well, you’re probably experiencing the infamous TikTok shadow ban.

This is the unofficial term for what happens when TikTok temporarily blocks (or partially blocks) the visibility of an account. When this happens, a user’s videos will stop appearing in the For You page and in the hashtags section of the app. 

Essentially, it’s TikTok’s way of putting you in a timeout for violating the app’s guidelines. 

As you can imagine, for creators, this is not ideal.

No need to worry though, as we will run you through everything you need to know about the TikTok shadow ban, including tips and tricks for getting out of one should you ever fall prey to it. 

@mas0n_jamez Probably gonna email @TikTok ? #shadowbanned #help #foryoupage #fyp #foryou #shadowbanned? #alt #alternative #alttiktok #transandproud?️‍⚧️ #transandproud ♬ original sound – Mason ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ

How do users get shadow banned?

A TikTok shadow ban comes about after a user on the app has violated the community guidelines in one way or another. 

Here are some reasons why you could be shadow banned on TikTok:

Posting adult content

This falls under the ‘forbidden’ category within the app’s community guidelines and includes content that depicts nudity or pornography or content that is sexually explicit. 

To keep it simple, keep it PG and you’ll stay on the FYP. 

Bullying or harassment

TikTok actively promotes inclusivity and “individual expression without fear of abuse”, so, as you can imagine, any form of bullying or harassment does not go down well. 

This point is particularly prominent during a time where community wellness should be at the forefront of every social media platform’s priority list. If TikTok can monitor this, then so can everyone else.

Copyright infringement 

Just like other platforms, TikTok has a zero tolerance policy for publishing others’ copyrighted content. 

Stick to being original – more people will like you that way.

By accident

There have been incidents where a TikTok shadow ban has been issued by accident. 

This is often the case when it comes to mass, automated moderation.

Some critics have claimed that TikTok’s algorithm has taken sides or intentionally stifled the voices of activists or protestors. At the height of the George Floyd movement in 2020, many users reported receiving 0 views on posts that contained the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter or #GeorgeFloyd. 

TikTok responded to this by suggesting there was a glitch in the algorithm and have since worked hard to ensure that this will never happen again. 

How can users tell if they’ve been shadow banned?

Unfortunately, users are not notified when they have been placed under a TikTok shadow ban. This means that many restrictions go unnoticed.

However, there are some key indicators to look for to determine whether you’ve been shadow banned:

  1. Content is not visible on the FYP or search results
  2. Videos won’t upload (they will say “under review” or “processing” instead)
  3. A lack of engagement

If all three apply, you have a TikTok shadow ban on your hands. 

But how long does this last?

Most creators on the app say that a shadow ban typically lasts for 2 weeks. However, some have also reported it lasting 24 hours and others up to a month. 

@dreamyanointed Get us back on the for you page guys. #shadowbanned #fypシ #fyp #trending #viral #foryou #foryoupage #foryourpage #foryour ♬ original sound – Dreamy

Seeing as the exact length of a TikTok shadow ban is unknown, there are things you can do to get rid of it, so that you don’t end up spending the entire two weeks restricted.

1. Delete flagged content

When you suspect a ban, comb through your posts to find the offender. Once found, remove it and wait for the algorithm to forgive you.

2. Reinstall the app

Once you’ve done the above, delete the app and reinstall it to check it’s officially been deleted. 

3. Avoid spam-like behaviour

A sudden decrease in engagement could lead you to thinking that more posts = getting that engagement back. 

This is not the case.

Instead, the algorithm will only shadow ban you again for spamming content.

You are not a bot, so don’t act like one.

4. Follow community guidelines

This one is self-explanatory. 

Community guidelines are there for a reason. 

This will allow you to continue your journey as a creator on TikTok without losing sleep at night. 

FAQ’s

What is a TikTok shadow ban?

This is when the app partially or fully blocks the visibility of an account for violating community guidelines.

How do I get out of a shadow ban on TikTok?

  1. Delete flagged content
  2. Reinstall the app
  3. Avoid spam-like behaviour
  4. Follow community guidelines

How do I know if I’m shadow banned on TikTok?

Unfortunately, there is no way to know this, but there are indicators to look out for:

  1. Content is not visible on the FYP or in search results
  2. Videos won’t upload
  3. Rapid decrease in engagement

How long does a shadowban last?

Typically around 2 weeks.

Our Influencer marketing agency and Social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our Influencer Marketing & Social Media blog.

@ Socially Powerful

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James Hacking

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Socially Powerful, founded in 2017, stood as pioneers of the influencer marketing industry. Today we are a global social marketing agency and technology company.

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