Tiktok has blown up in recent years. Many Tiktokers remember the day when Tiktok was just a place where you could recommend and share songs with others. As time went on, Tiktok evolved into one of China's most popular apps, and with it came more users and great content. Tiktok has given a platform to artists around the world - from musicians and singers to dancers and photographers.
Tiktokers from all around the world have been spreading their art and sharing it with other Tiktokers, who in turn have helped many talented people rise to fame. Success on Tiktok can mean a lot of things for people. The rise of famous Tiktokers and their huge social media followings have given them a platform that many have been able to leverage to become millionaires at very young ages. Tiktok fame comes at a price though, and it means that you are always at the discretion of Tiktok's algorithm.
It may happen that famous Tiktokers suddenly see their view and engagements drop. Sometimes, this can be a result of Tiktok's algorithm which may not be favoring them at the moment, but sometimes, a substantial drop in views and engagement can also mean that you might just have been shadowbanned.
What Is Shadowbanning?
Putting a Shadowban on an account means you have limited its capabilities. Or in other words, it's a way to punish an account for breaking community guidelines. From the outside you as users would not notice anything different, using the account as usual it might even seem that nothing has changed at all. In fact, however, your mileage will vary depending on which of these bans you're under.
The reason for the ban is usually that you've broken one or multiple community guidelines, perhaps most notably by posting violent or graphic content, posting hate, or participating in or promoting illegal activities. These are things most likely to cause Tiktok's algorithms to flag your account as problematic leading to you being shadowbanned.
Tiktok has not released an official statement about shadowbanning, but speculations are rife. It's generally believed that breaking community guidelines can lead to decreased engagement. You can read a full list of Tiktok's Community Guidelines to understand the activities that could lead you to be shadowbanned so that you can avoid it!
How To Check If Have You Been Shadowbanned?
Is it possible to tell whether you've been shadowbanned? While there is no foolproof way to determine this, there are some hints that your in-app experience will give you.
For one, sudden drops in viewership for a TikTok account that has been shadowbanned are common. On TikTok, there is a "For You" page with recommendations for various videos. If you are shadowbanned, your Tiktoks will not appear on the page, but there is no way to know for sure if you have been shadowbanned. The only way to know about this is when someone else will inform you about it. If your videos are not visible on the ‘For You’ page, it surely means ‘you are shadowbanned’.
While you might not see anything different when using your account, what you can do is check if you have been shadowbanned by searching for your username. If the top suggestions are not you, but someone else with the same name, it's likely that your account might need to be unshadowbanned.
You can do this research using the Tiktok app for Android and iPhone, as well as on Tiktok's website. Another way to check if you have been shadowbanned is by checking how many followers you have (if you keep track of them). If you have more followers than usual, your account has likely been shadowbanned.
How To Get Unshaddowbanned on Tiktok
If your account has been banned, there are a few things you can do about it. None of these are guaranteed to work as they are not Tiktok's official statements, but there is literature to support that some of these techniques might work and get you unshadowbanned quicker than how much time it would take without intervention.
- Try to delete your most recent video or the video after which your engagement dropped. This might be able to solve your problem.
- Uninstall the app and reinstall it again. Also, try clearing your smartphone's cached Tiktok data.
- You can appeal to Tiktok and hope they will remove the ban on your account. Keep in mind to only use the appeal once, many users tend to send multiple appeals which the moderators do not take into consideration. Another thing to do if your account has been banned is to create a new Tiktok account under a different username.
- If you want to stick with using your main account, you should avoid breaking community guidelines so that you don't risk being shadowbanned again. However, it's also likely that with persistence you can convince Tiktok to unban your account; good luck with that!
- If you do not want to risk being shadowbanned ever again, another option is to delete your current Tiktok account and start over with brand new account(s).
Typically, Shadowbans tend to last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month, so it's okay to wait for this duration out and then check if your engagement improves. If it doesn't, try contacting Tiktok. In a worst-case scenario, you might just have to create a new account to see your engagement rates go back to pre-shadowban levels.