What is a shadow ban?

Shadowbanning is when a social media company, administrator, or moderator hides certain posts from everyone except the original poster. Posts affected by a shadow ban are no longer visible to other users in their respective social network timelines and can also be hidden from search results.

Shadowbanning can also be written as "shadowbanning" and is sometimes referred to as "invisible banning", "comment ghosting", "hell banning" and "ghost banning".

In the case of all shadowbans, the creator of the post is completely unaware that their post is hidden from others. They don't receive notifications about changes, and usually only become aware of being shadowbanned when other users let them know they're not seeing their content or when they notice a significant drop in post engagement or views.

In the extreme case of a shadow ban, a user's entire account, including their profile, may be hidden from the social network's user base.

X's official stance on shadowbanning is that they won't do it to regular users. However, the company also confirmed that they do hide tweets from accounts that have been muted or blocked by a large number of users or have a history of violating the guidelines.

In essence, X enforces a shadow injunction. They just choose not to call it that.

X also uses a dynamic activity feed powered by algorithms to display trending tweets or tweets from accounts that X considers popular or important before others do. This can cause many everyday users' tweets to be pushed to the bottom of the feed and can create the illusion that they are completely hidden or shadowbanned. This algorithmic ranking also affects the order in which accounts appear in search results.

This can be frustrating, but it's not technically a shadow ban.

If you find that you've missed a lot of tweets from an account you follow, you can switch back to X's timeline. If your followers miss your tweets, you can encourage them to do the same.

In 2018, Twitter was accused of covertly banning politically conservative accounts from the social network's auto-suggest search results. However, this was a technical glitch that was quickly corrected.

Shadowbanning on Instagram mainly involves hiding posts from searches and hashtag feeds. The shadowbanning process appears to be mostly automated by a system that detects accounts performing suspicious activity and hides their content.

The system's main purpose is to stop bots and fake accounts from spamming users' Instagrams, but it often affects regular users as well.

It's common for Instagram accounts to get banned for posts targeting specific hashtags after they regularly overuse the same hashtag. For example, even if all of your Instagram posts are travel-related and you use "#travel" on every post, Instagram may think you're spamming the hashtag or trying to dominate its results page and hide that All posts in the hashtag go forward.

Shadowbanning a hashtag on Instagram effectively renders that particular hashtag useless for your account.

You can find out which hashtags have been shadowbanned by browsing the hashtags while logged in with a different account and seeing which of your posts show up under the Recent tabs.

Similar to X and Instagram, YouTube uses automated systems to manage its user activity and has been known to ban people in the comments section of YouTube videos.

Shadowbans on YouTube typically occur when an account is suspected of being a bot or spamming the system with unusually high levels of comments. Accounts may also be shadowbanned if their comments receive a large number of inappropriate or violent reports from other users.

In addition to comment shadowbans, YouTube also shadowbans videos in users' feeds. This seems to be done primarily to improve the overall quality of the videos in users' feeds, rather than as a reflection on the creators of YouTube videos.

For example, if a user is subscribed to hundreds of YouTube channels, and many of them upload new videos on the same day, YouTube might hide some of those videos so that the feed doesn't become too crowded. This can also happen if a single account uploads a large number of videos at once.

YouTube will also ban videos containing sensitive topics from the recommended or recommended videos section on the YouTube website and app, as well as from the video itself after it has finished playing.

In most cases, the most effective way to reverse a shadowban is to reflect on the possible reasons why you were shadowbanned, change your behavior, and then wait for the social network system to lift the ban.

Here are some tips on how to post on social media when shadowbanned:

  • Stop swearing : Swearing often triggers moderation algorithms.
  • Avoid fights : Fighting in comments may cause other users to mute, block, or report you, which may extend your shadowban.
  • Stop using hashtags on X : Do not use any hashtags until the shadow ban is lifted.
  • Reduce the use of hashtags on Instagram : Five hashtags is a safe number.
  • Change your Instagram hashtags : Don’t use the same hashtag you were using before the ban and try using a different one every day.
  • Disconnect all third-party apps and services : If you use bots to post on social media, turn them off and completely disconnect from the affected accounts.
  • Stop spamming : Limit yourself to a few tweets per hour, one Instagram post every 12 hours, and one YouTube video per day.
  • Avoid sensitive themes and nudity : Posts containing either of these are known to impact accounts and trigger shadowbans.

Shadow bans are almost always temporary and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Waiting is almost always the best strategy, but the tips above may help you regain control of your account's audience faster.