“Shadow banning” or a “shadowban” is the term used to describe a technique on social networks and forums that ensures that posts an account publishes reach fewer to no people. Whether someone is affected by a shadowban, this person is usually not informed by the social network.
What is a Shadowban? Meaning, definition, explanation
A “Shadowban” serves to block the content of a user, but is not a direct blocking or deletion of the account. The aim of a shadowban is that the content of the affected user is “shadowed” and becomes invisible to others.
Among others, a “shadowban” has been observed on the following platforms: Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, WeChat
Shadow banning is also followed as:
- stealth banning
- ghost banning
- comment ghosting
How a shadowban becomes noticeable
When an account is affected by a “shadowban,” it is evident by the fact that the reach/visibility of new posts has plummeted and interactions (such as shares or likes) have also plummeted.
The interaction that still takes place is almost exclusively by users who already follow or are fans.
There is usually no change in the number of subscribers. Users can continue to view their own posts. Posts are usually not deleted.
In addition, a shadowban ensures that only followers of the account can see posts on certain hashtags in the social network search. Non-followers will not see the content of the account that is affected by the shadow ban, or hardly at all.
Twitter Shadowban Test
For Twitter you can use this tool to find out if (your) account is affected by a shadowban: Shadowban.com/tester
Instagram Shadowban Test
Publish a post with your Instagram profile under a certain hashtag. Now ask a friend or create a second account. Ask the other account to follow you. If he follows you, you check in the Instagram search whether your post is displayed for the specific hashtag. Now this second account unfollows you and you check Instagram search again to see if your post is displayed for your particular hashtag. If you see the post, you are not shadow-banned. If you don’t see it, then you are affected.
Why is a shadowban imposed
A shadowban is imposed when a user has violated the rules of the social network. These can be, among others:
- Using bots or automated services (e.g., automated commenting, automated following)
- Buying fans, followers or reactions
- Overuse of a hashtag (Will be classified as spam partly).
- Over- and under-activity – if too many posts are liked at once in a short period of time, or too many people unfollow or follow, with no interaction at all the rest of the time, this can trigger a shadowban.
- NSFW hashtags may be blocked. Hashtags used to promote Ü18 content may cause content to receive less reach
- Your hashtags are on a blocked list / blacklist. For certain hashtags, some social networks censor the newsfeed.
- The account has received too many complaints.
What to do in case of a shadowban
In the case of a shadowban, you have little you can do immediately. Try to work through this list:
- Check if you have engaged in any misconduct as mentioned in the paragraph before. If so, refrain from using unfavorable hashtags, for example, or change your activity.
- File a complaint or report a problem. This can help.
- Take a break. Do, seriously. Publish fewer posts or refrain from Instagram or Twitter for a few days.
What is the goal of a shadowban
The purpose of a shadowban is to prevent the content that spammers spread on social networks from being displayed on an equal footing with the content of average, genuine or serious users. It is a muzzle, so to speak.
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This has one goal: To frustrate the spammer, make him rethink his method and publish better content or stay away from the social network.
This is often about preserving the social network provider’s intended use of the network.