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What Is Shadowbanning? (+How to Tell If You’re Shadowbanned)

Shadowbanning occurs when a social network silences a user’s account without informing them. A shadowbanned user can still view and interact with the site’s content, but their comments and content are no longer visible to other users.

The practice can have significant negative impacts on the visibility of a business’ marketing since customers will no longer see and engage with the brand. Read on to learn how to tell if your account has been shadowbanned and fix or prevent it.

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What is the purpose of shadowbanning?

Now that we answered, “What is shadowbanning,” you may wonder what the purpose of it is.

Shadowbanning is a “polite” way to get rid of troublemakers, especially spammers. Users who engage on a platform to spam or troll others make it a less pleasant experience for everyone. The hope was by taking away the incentive — interaction — the unwanted guest would lose interest and move on.

Shadowbanning still allows these people to access your content, but they can’t interact with it. So, it still allows them to be part of the community but discourages the undesirable behavior exhibited in interactions.

How do I know if I’m shadowbanned?

Fortunately, discovering a shadowban can be a reasonably straightforward process. It varies slightly between the platforms, so let’s look at each one.

Shadowbanning on Instagram

Instagram is the one users mention the most in connection with shadowbanning. If you’ve seen a significant drop in engagement or likes, this practice could be the cause.

Check your reach on your post analytics, especially the metric indicating exposure to non-followers. You can also create a post with a unique and appropriate hashtag and then have non-followers search for it. If it doesn’t appear in the results, you’re likely experiencing a shadowban.

Shadowbanning on Twitter

Twitter prioritizes content but does not actively shadowban. If your content isn’t showing up in the search function and your average tweet engagement shows a marked decrease, it could mean you’ve received a “bad faith” user label.

The primary way to spot if your account hit the bad faith list is the inability to respond to others’ tweets. Accounts who violate the terms of service typically receive a suspension notice and a time out in “Twitter jail.”

Shadowbanning on Facebook

Likewise, a user experiencing a shadowban on Facebook will notice decreased post activity. For businesses, this can be more complex to determine.

Facebook’s algorithm naturally suppresses commercial pages in users’ feeds to encourage more paid promotion. Consider whether you’ve spent money advancing a post before comparing activity metrics.

You can also ask a co-worker, friend, or family member to search for your content. If it doesn’t appear, a shadowban could be the cause.

Shadowbanning on TikTok

As with Instagram, you can share a hashtagged post and search to see if it shows up in the results. Examining the “For You” and pageview analytics may also shed some light on what’s happening.

How to fix shadowbanning

Following a shadowban, repairing your business account can range from basic steps to more complex ones. The process to reclaim your former status differs between the platforms.

For some infractions, it’s simply a matter of time. Twitter jail and Instagram penalties for exceeding daily limits resolve as the clock ticks. Other platforms may require you to submit a review request or respond to appeals.

Repeated violations can result in permanent shadowbanning.

How to prevent shadowbanning

The easiest way to resolve shadowbanning is to take proactive measures to prevent it. Always follow the platform’s rules and post high-quality content.

Here are some ways you can prevent shadowbanning of your account:

1. Play by the rules

Every platform has its terms and conditions, and you agree to comply with them when you create your account. Violating them too often can earn your business a shadowban.

For example, Instagram isn’t fond of any activity that looks spammy or out of the norm. Using too many hashtags or frowned-upon tactics to increase engagement and followers could cause issues. They can also penalize your account for too much activity within too short a time frame since it looks bot-like.

2. Pay attention to your hashtags

Most social media platforms support the use of hashtags. Businesses benefit from them through increased engagement and brand recognition.

However, these networks also have many hashtags they’ve banned. The reasons behind some are apparent, like profanity. Others seem innocent, such as #adulting or #kansas.

Often these hashtags end up on a list due to abuse, such as adding them to inappropriate or misleading content. Businesses that unintentionally use them are essentially ensuring their posts get no reach.

Another consideration for adding hashtags is their trendiness. Unexpected surges of activity around one raises skepticism within the platform. Any suspicion of fraud could result in a shadowban.

3. Craft high-quality content

Not all lack of engagement is due to a shadowban. Your audience will naturally decline if your content doesn’t meet their quality expectations. Avoid repeatedly copying and pasting the same content or using misleading hashtags to gain traffic and clicks ­­–– it presents as spammy.

Social media feeds represent an attractive target for spammers and those spreading misinformation. As a result, the networks have begun to crack down on those activities by silencing or removing accounts. This possibility is another reason to ensure your content is high-quality and meets credibility standards.

4. Get professional help

Hiring a social media marketing agency increases the chances you won’t find yourself with an unintentional shadowban. Industry experts are familiar with creating the brand-relevant hashtags and high-quality content your social media marketing needs to succeed.

Online advertising specialists also know how to position your business as the solution to potential customers’ wants and needs. A reputable agency can help you increase your reach, attract new audiences, and drive website traffic with the right plan in place.

WebFX knows social media

Our experts know how to prevent shadowbans, extend your advertising’s reach, and maximize your return on investment. We’ll work with your business to create a personalized social media marketing strategy to achieve your business goals.

Contact an award-winning team member online or call 888-601-5359 today to learn more about our social media services!