March 6, 2024
Min Read

TikTok Shadowban Explained: What It Is and How To Fix It

Learn what a TikTok shadowban is, how to tell if it’s happened to you, and what to do. Read up on best practices for respecting the TikTok community.

Collage of TikTok screenshots with notification alerts related to shadow ban

Tracking your TikTok analytics lets you know if you have a consistent amount of views, likes, and shares. If your numbers are suddenly low and you can’t figure out why, it could be a shadowban. 

A TikTok shadowban prevents followers and new viewers alike from seeing your content, meaning they can’t like, share, or otherwise interact with it — which could explain the drop in activity. 

Here’s everything you need to know about TikTok shadowbanning and what to do if you suspect it’s happening to you.

What Is “Shadowbanned” on TikTok?

A TikTok shadowban is when TikTok places a complete or partial block on your account without warning. This means your followers don’t see your content, and neither do any other viewers who might be scrolling through their For You Pages (FYPs) and searches. 

Because TikTok doesn’t alert you, you may never know you’ve been shadowbanned unless you detect odd activity, like a drop in engagement or views. However, low engagement or views doesn’t always equal a shadowban. It could just mean that your recent content isn’t landing with your audience. There’s no way to know for sure, but if you think you’ve been shadowbanned, the best thing to do is switch up your content and check to make sure you haven’t violated the TikTok Community Guidelines.

How To Tell if You’re Shadowbanned on TikTok

Since TikTok won’t notify you if you’ve been shadowbanned, you’ll have to do some detective work to find out. The following clues can point to a shadowban, but remember, they aren’t definite.

  • Decreased engagement If TikTok shadowbanned you, people can’t see your content on their FYPs, the hashtag page, or in searches. You may find your videos get low or no views and engagement. 
  • Your content isn’t in searches — If a TikTok follower mentions that they can’t find your content when searching by hashtag or keyword, this is a strong sign it’s been banned. You can test the theory by asking friends to search for your videos and see if anyone can find them. If they can’t, it could mean you’re shadowbanned.
  • You’re not on FYPs — If friends who generally watch your TikToks notice your content isn’t showing up on their FYPs, this could be a sign the app has shadowbanned you.
  • You’re having upload trouble When you’ve been shadowbanned, TikTok may keep your videos in the “processing” phase for too long or mark them as “under review.” If you’re experiencing frequent upload delays, you might be shadowbanned. 
Screenshot of TikTok traffic source metrics, highlighting a lower traffic percentage coming from the “For You” page than from “Personal Profile”]

Why Am I Shadowbanned on TikTok? 5 Potential Reasons

TikTok shadowbanning gets its name because it happens without warning. The platform doesn’t discuss it — or explain how to avoid it. However, you can assume that it’s a consequence of violating the TikTok Community Guidelines. 

When you make a TikTok account and start posting, you have to agree to the Community Guidelines, which say that content should be appropriate, legitimate, and kind. If you don’t stick to these rules, TikTok could suspend your account or shadowban your content. 

Here are five ways your account could be breaking the platform’s rules:

  1. You’ve posted adult content like nudity, illicit acts, or violence.
  2. TikTok has flagged your account for bullying or harassment of other users.
  3. You’ve committed copyright infringement, meaning you’ve used someone else’s intellectual property, like music, without permission.
  4. You’ve promoted dangerous acts like stunts people shouldn’t do at home.
  5. TikTok senses you’ve been engaging in spammy behavior, like binge-liking or asking other users to buy things.

If you think you’ve been shadowbanned but haven’t violated these guidelines, TikTok could have banned your account incorrectly. There’s also a chance there’s a different reason behind your low numbers. 

Screenshot of TikTok’s content violation notification for “Harassment and bullying”

How To Get Un-shadowbanned on TikTok

If you suspect a shadowban, you likely want TikTok to reverse it and show your content again. However, there’s no way to formally appeal a TikTok ban. Instead, you should go through your account to make sure there’s no inappropriate content.

Here are three TikTok tips for reversing a potential shadowban:

1. Remove Flagged Content

While TikTok won’t inform you if you’ve been shadowbanned, it will notify you of “flagged” content — videos that go against the Community Guidelines. Remove any flagged TikToks so your account fully complies with the app’s content posting rules. 

2. Read the Community Guidelines

If you’re unsure which of your videos violates TikTok’s rules, read the app’s Community Guidelines page carefully. You may have broken the rules without realizing it, like uploading music you aren’t allowed to use or doing a stunt that the app thinks is unsafe. 

3. Re-Install TikTok and Wait

After you delete any rule-breaking content from your account, delete and re-install the TikTok app. This gives the system a chance to reset and remove the ban. Shadowbans shouldn’t last for more than a couple of weeks, but if you experience a longer wait, consider contacting the TikTok team and asking for help.

4. Adjust Your Content

If you still feel like your followers aren’t seeing your content, it could be for a different reason than a shadowban. Use the opportunity to switch things up. Try creating shorter videos, experimenting with different topics, or adding captions. Sometimes, all you need is a change for your audience — and the algorithm — to find your videos and give them a boost.

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Staying Clear of TikTok Shadowbans

The two best ways to avoid a shadowban are posting TikTok-appropriate content and being respectful in all interactions. The platform is supposed to be a safe space for everyone, and whether you’re a creator with a ton of followers or just love posting videos for friends, you’re a part of that community.

Here are some tips to help you avoid a shadowban:

  • Don’t make videos that include excessive violence or sexuality.
  • Only post content that’s yours or you have permission to use.
  • Try not to use too many hashtags in your comments or video description.
  • Never use hate speech or violent language in direct messages or video comments. 
  • Avoid spammy behavior, such as liking all of a user’s videos without watching them. 
  • Only log in to your account with one device at a time. TikTok might think that multiple devices indicate spam.
  • Interact with your audience kindly and regularly.

Prevent Shadowbans With Captions

Captions has multiple tools that can help you set your TikTok account up for success. If a section of your video gets flagged, you can use the video trimmer to edit it out quickly. When you’re ready to post, Captions can help you write a relevant, spam-free video description with hashtags that boost your visibility. 

The best part? It all happens 10x faster with the power of AI. Try Captions today.

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March 6, 2024
Min Read
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