What is the Tiktok Shadowban?

What is the Tiktok Shadowban?

Apr 8, 2022

How well do you understand the Tiktok shadowban? If you’re a content creator or influencer on Tiktok, you need to be an expert. The difference between an influencer that understands the shadowban and one that doesn’t can mean the difference between success and failure. 

But wait, isn’t the shadowban a bad thing? How would understanding it help me do well? It is a bad thing, and that’s precisely why we need to understand it. The shadowban can severely hinder the success of your future posts and, in many ways, can put you completely in the dark for upwards of months at a time. So let’s talk about it.

What is a TikTok shadowban?

A shadowban is a virtual time-out, but one you did not know you were in. Tiktok will “ban” your content from the “for you” page and will not promote your videos.

Occasionally, it will stop you from uploading any new content and give you an error message like “pending review” or “processing” for an extended period. More often, though, the videos will upload like usual, and there will be no obvious indication of a ban.

How can you tell if you’ve been shadowbanned?

Typically there are three solid indicators of shadowbanning. The First would be the video uploading problem. You can encounter upload errors at any time. Still, if you’re consistently getting a “failed to upload” or a “pending review” message, it could be a sign your content is banned. 

The second way you can check is in the “for you” section. If you find your content in that section, you can rest easy knowing you are not banned. Tiktok will never show a shadowbanned creator’s content, so if you cannot, find it could also be an indicator you are banned.

And finally, the most obvious indicator is a clear and stark drop-off in engagement. If your videos are consistently getting thousands of likes and comments, and they are suddenly getting numbers in the single or double digits, chances are you are banned.

What causes the TikTok shadowban? 

The answer to what causes a shadowban differs depending on who you ask. If you ask TikTok, they will say the creator triggered the ban, citing a breach of community guidelines. If you ask the creators, they will often say the non-human, god-like, and power algorithm triggered it. 

Regardless of what triggers it, there is nothing you can do to stop it once it starts. You must do your best to rectify the situation to prevent it from happening again. 

How long does a shadowban last?

Tiktok has admitted to using the shadowban practice but has not officially disclosed the length of the average shadowban. We’ve heard from self-reporting banned creators that the duration is typically between 2 and 4 weeks, although some people have claimed more than 30 days’ worth of a ban. 

What to do if you’ve been shadowbanned on Tiktok?

Once you know you are shadowbanned, you should act quickly. First, stop any content in the queue from being released or at the very least reassess the schedule. During the shadowban, your content will reach only a tiny fraction of your original reach. So don’t waste any quality content during your time-out. 

The next step is to cull through your existing content (including hashtags) and cross-reference the Tiktok Community guidelines to see where you might have stepped into it. Once you identify the potential trigger, you may want to remove or edit the content to correct the problem and continue waiting out your sentence. 

The good news is that if this is your first time and you didn’t do anything too offensive, your account will be fine. After a few weeks, you will start to see your engagement creep back up, and you can start putting the pieces back together, but be very careful not to mess up again. The algorithm is intelligent and will look out for previous offenders. People often find themselves repeating banned for not addressing the red flags.

Putting it all together

There you have it – the Tiktok shadowban. An algorithm-triggered time-out that can deflate your videos before they have a chance to inflate. Ready to upgrade your TikTok Strategy?