TikTok Shadow Ban: What is it - Ways to get rid of it

Mohamed Fouad

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Have you noticed your TikTok videos getting fewer views and engagement lately? Has your reach and growth seemingly stalled for no reason? There's a chance your account may be suffering from the dreaded TikTok shadow ban.

A TikTok shadow ban essentially limits your content's visibility in the app and to other users. Your videos, likes, and comments don't show up on hashtag or account feeds. You may even find your follower count stagnating seemingly out of nowhere. It's an incredibly frustrating problem for creators trying to grow their audience on the platform.

In this post, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about TikTok shadow bans. We’ll cover what exactly a shadow ban is, common reasons accounts get shadow banned, how to tell if you've been shadow banned, and most importantly - how to get your account back in TikTok's good graces.

Whether you just suspect something seems off with your account or already confirmed you’ve been shadow banned, read on to learn how to recover and prevent your account from getting shadow banned ever again. With the right strategy, you can reverse course and continue growing your TikTok creator account.

What Is TikTok Shadowban?

A TikTok shadowban refers to when the platform restricts the reach of your content without notifying you. It's an algorithmic penalty typically enforced for violating policies.

Essentially, your account is demoted, making it nearly invisible to the broader TikTok community. Your videos, likes, and comments will have reduced exposure on features like the For You feed, hashtags, and recommendations.

Shadowbanning allows TikTok to moderate content and accounts at scale without a complete suspension. However, it tanks your viewership and growth - you lose access to the platform's one billion monthly active users.

According to creators, there are three key indicators your account may be shadowbanned:

  • Stalled Uploads: Videos get perpetually stuck in "processing" or "under review" status rather than publishing normally.
  • Plunging Engagement: Likes, comments, shares, and especially views abruptly decrease by 50-80% or more. A massive drop signals restricted reach.
  • Zero Visibility: Videos on TikTok have 0 views and no reach despite using relevant hashtags. They don't appear in search or on the For You page at all - the core TikTok discovery hub.

TikTok never tells you that you've been shadowbanned. Through studying analytics data and seeing posts flop, creators realize it themselves over time. It's not an official sanction, but has become TikTok's most common method of content takedowns.

The effects are quite severe, hence creators regard a shadowban as catastrophic for growth. Luckily, with the right approach, you can recover a shadowbanned account.


@tiktalktipfyp Shadow Banned #shadowbanned ♬ original sound - Eric Melchor


How do you get shadow-banned on TikTok?

Getting shadowbanned on TikTok can happen quietly and without warning. One day your videos are thriving and the next, your viewership and engagement take a surprise nosedive.

If you've noticed your once well-performing TikTok content flopping lately, shadowbanning may be to blame. But what actually causes TikTok to shadowban accounts in the first place?

Shadowbans occur when something triggers TikTok's systems and algorithms to secretly restrict your reach. There are a variety of potential reasons TikTok might shadowban your profile or content.

In this section, we’ll cover the main ways accounts end up getting shadowbanned on TikTok. 

How do you get shadow-banned on TikTok?

Violating the Community Guidelines

TikTok shadows bans accounts primarily for repeatedly breaking platform policies. Violating the community guidelines triggers the algorithm to restrict your reach and visibility.

Some of the most common violations that prompt shadow bans include:

  • Adult Content - Posting pornography, nudity, or sexual material almost always results in either a permanent ban or shadowban. TikTok aims to keep mature content off the platform.
  • Harmful Challenges - Encouraging dangerous viral stunts violates policies around harm, especially with TikTok's young user base. Accounts promoting risky behavior face restrictions.
  • Harassment and Bullying - Abusing, threatening, intimidating or defaming other users breaks TikTok's anti-bullying rules. Multiple offenses lead to limits on distribution.
  • Hate Speech and Discrimination - Accounts spreading hateful ideologies, racist stereotypes or derogatory language tend to get shadowbanned for hate speech violations.
  • Violent Extremism - Promoting terrorist organizations, inciting real-world violence or threatening harm contravenes several guidelines. It's grounds for shadowbanning.
  • Copyright Infringement - Reposting others' content without credit, permission or adding originality often triggers copyright strikes, limiting reach.

The list goes on covering everything from illegal activities to minors safety. The main takeaway is that consistently disregarding policies shrinks your visibility. TikTok relies on shadowbanning to discourage bad actors without banning them outright.

So before posting, double check that your content doesn't violate fair use, copyright, community standards or terms of service. Avoiding policy pitfalls is key to maintaining full access to TikTok's discovery algorithms.

Spammy behavior

Engaging in inauthentic tactics can also land your TikTok account in the shadows. Anything that resembles bot-like or spammy activity often triggers restrictions by the algorithm.

Bulk following hundreds of accounts shortly after creating your profile may appear disingenuous. Flooding your feed with a blitz of new videos can also seem bot-driven rather than organic content creation. These behaviors might prompt shadowbanning.

Buying fake views, likes or followers is another clear violation of community standards. Artificially inflating your popularity with paid services will likely backfire with reach limitations. TikTok aims to reward authentic engagement.

Likewise, stealing others' content or impersonating unique creators undermines originality on the platform. Spreading misinformation can also be grounds for shadowbanning if deemed harmful.

The key takeaway is that any engagement tactic intended to artificially boost your performance could be perceived as inauthentic by TikTok. Deploying bot accounts, buying metrics or recycling viral content are shortcuts that might improve numbers temporarily but kill reach longer term.

Focus on creating compelling content and cultivating authentic connections instead. Quality over quantity is the mindset that keeps your account in good standing. Prioritizing integrity over growth hacking will serve you better over time.

By Accident

In some cases, TikTok may shadowban accounts accidentally through flaws in its automated moderation. Relying on AI and algorithms to police content at scale can mistakenly flag harmless posts as policy violations.

As reported by NBC News, Jewish creators have criticized TikTok for aggressively taking down their videos. They feel the automated review process unfairly censors their content around Jewish identity, history and practices.

The tech was designed to catch hate speech but ended up minimizing marginalized voices instead. This demonstrates the challenges with heavy reliance on artificial intelligence for community governance.

Nuance, context and cultural competency is much harder for an algorithm. Blanket content takedowns often come from robots lacking human discernment. As a result, strict automated rules can suppress creativity that violates no policies.

TikTok likely shadowbans a share of accounts simply for tripping bots enforcing guidelines. Video features like text, sounds or imagery might resemble banned content, triggering restrictions incorrectly.

So if you're confident you've posted nothing against policy, an engagement decline may come down to AI moderation errors. TikTok's black-box algorithm can obscure why reach vanishes, even from well-meaning creators.

Appealing restrictions and communicating context to human reviewers is key. When automation stifles accounts unfairly, creators have recourse to regain visibility through formal complaints.

How Long Does the Shadowban Last?

Though TikTok doesn't confirm shadowbanning practices, creators estimate restrictions typically last around 2 weeks based on experience. However, durations vary case by case:

  • Short Shadowbans: Some creators report limitations lifting in just 1-3 days if violations are minor. Quick reversals suggest bots rescind unfair bans.
  • Extended Shadowbans: More severe or repeated violations may warrant longer restrictions of 1-2 months. Intentional policy breaches prolong loss of visibility as a deterrent.

Ultimately each instance differs based on infraction severity and frequency. But a two week average matches wider creator assumptions.

Regardless of duration, the most effective approach is avoiding further violations once shadowbanned. Continuing offense only resets the clock, extending your limitation period.

Staying compliant to regain reach quickly means:

  • Ceasing posting during the ban window to prevent policy issues
  • Reviewing community guidelines to pinpoint where you strayed
  • Contacting TikTok support if you feel the shadowban was mistaken

While waiting out a ban can be incredibly frustrating, patience pays off long-term. Attempts to bypass restrictions or simulate engagement during the period will only make matters worse.

Focus on studying TikTok's rules and crafting creative concepts aligned to policies. That way once algorithms unlock your access in the coming weeks, you'll be set up for visible, compliant growth.


@gingermarketer Reply to @octavioredmusic ♬ original sound - Joshua Moore | Video Coach


Top Tips to Escape the TikTok Shadowban

Recovering from a TikTok shadowban takes patience and perseverance. While there's no instant fix, creators typically regain full visibility in 2-4 weeks by following best practices.

  • Audit Content for Violations - Carefully review posts, comments, hashtags, etc. to identify policy breaches. Removing violations helps lift bans.
  • Delete Problematic Content - Take down any videos, sounds or images prompting the shadowban. Edit if possible or delete altogether.
  • Cease Spam Behaviors - Stop bulk following accounts, flooding feeds or faking engagement. Focus on authentic community building.
  • Clear Cache and Reinstall - Wipe app data and download the latest version. This may reset issues causing the shadowban.
  • Avoid Posting Sprees - Don't panic and overload your feed to recover lost views. Maintain usual pace to let videos find traction.
  • Be Patient - It takes 2-4 weeks to regain visibility organically. Ride it out by planning quality content in the meantime.
  • Appeal to TikTok - If issues persist beyond a month, submit an appeal to TikTok Support for human review.
  • Follow Community Guidelines - Prevent future issues by understanding and sticking to platform policies around content.

The road to recovering from a shadowban requires diligence and restraint. Sustain compliance, allow time for bans to lift and appeal if you feel punished unfairly. With the proper strategy, you'll be back on TikTok's good side.

Final Thought

Getting shadow banned on TikTok can be a confusing and frustrating experience for creators. Your content and account visibility suddenly plummets without explanation. Engagement tanks as videos go from popular to posting into a vacuum.

Essentially a TikTok shadow ban restricts your reach, limiting discovery by real users. It's imposed secretly by algorithms to enforce policies around inappropriate content or inauthentic behavior.

Violating community guidelines around hate speech, dangerous challenges, spamming and more can trigger a shadow ban. Or it may happen accidentally via flaws in TikTok's automated moderation.

Recovering from a shadow ban takes time and diligence. Avoid further violations, delete problematic posts, and exercise patience as distribution slowly rebounds over some 2-4 weeks typically.

Learning to create compliant, quality content is key to avoiding future issues with visibility. When in doubt, read TikTok’s rules thoroughly so you always stay on the right side of the algorithm.

While shadow banning can be catastrophic for TikTok creators in the short term, taking the right precautions will keep your account in good standing for the long haul. Stay vigilant in understanding TikTok’s evolving policies to prevent your account from slipping into the shadows.

Mohamed Fouad

Mohamed Fouad is a full-stack web developer and an entrepreneur who's really into advertising. He is the CEO of Rent Ads Agency, a company that helps businesses reach more customers through advertising. He graduated from Stanford University in 2018 and has over 4 years of experience in the tech industry.

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