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What is The TikTok Shadowban? And How to Fix it

If you’ve been using TikTok for a while, you’ve probably heard of the shadowban.

Did you notice a sharp drop in your engagement (e.g. likes, comments) on your videos?

If you do, then you might be shadowbanned.

Recently, a lot of users have experienced the TikTok shadowban and it’s negatively affecting their reach.

As a result, their growth has halted.

It can be frustrating because you might spend a lot of time making videos, but they don’t get as many likes or views like they used to.

Hence, in this article, I will cover everything about the TikTok shadowban and how to get rid of it.

What is the TikTok Shadowban?

The TikTok shadowban is a ban that prevents your videos from showing up on the For You Page (FYP) and hashtag results. This will negatively affect the reach of your videos.

In other words, if your account is shadowbanned, your views, likes, comments, etc. will decrease sharply.

A shadowban prevents your content from being shown to new people. This means that your videos won’t be shown on the For You Page or on the hashtag results on TikTok.

You might also be wondering, what is a shadowban for?

Social media platforms try to keep as many users on their platform as possible.

So, instead of permanently banning you from using their platform (e.g. TikTok) if you violate a guideline, they’ll enforce a temporary ban on your account.

This mitigates a drop in their monthly active users.

Hence, the shadowban is an instance of a temporary ban.

How do I know if I’m shadowbanned on TikTok?

TikTok hashtag

Here’s how to know if you are shadowbanned on TikTok.

If you’re shadowbanned on TikTok, the views, likes, and comments on your newer posts will drop sharply.

For example, if you’re consistently getting over 10,000 views in your previous videos but get only 100 views for all of your new videos, then it’s very likely that you are shadowbanned.

The second way to know if you’re shadowbanned on TikTok is to post a video with an uncommon hashtag (e.g. #test13579).

Then, ask your friend to search for the hashtag on TikTok. Alternatively, you can use/create a secondary account on your device to do this.

If your post happens to be on the search results, then you are not shadowbanned.

However, if your post does not appear on the search results, then you are shadowbanned.

Why did I get shadowbanned on TikTok?

If you follow the steps in the previous section and found out that you are shadowbanned, you might be wondering the reason behind it.

There are a few reasons why you might be shadowbanned — you’re either putting out bad content, content that violates TikTok’s Guidelines, abusing hashtags, buying followers/engagement, or that you’re using a VPN.

Let’s get to each one in detail.

1. You’re posting low-quality content

The first reason why you may be shadowbanned on TikTok is that you’re posting low-quality content.

So what is considered low-quality content?

Low-quality content is videos that are not native to TikTok.

Before you publish a video, you should always benchmark it to the videos you see on the For You Page.

Is the quality of your video similar to the ones on the For You Page, or is it very different?

If the quality of your video is substandard as compared to the videos on the For You Page, then you should reconsider posting it.

Unfortunately, TikTok has a reputation for suppressing low-quality videos from getting on the For You Page.

TikTok has a stringent moderation policy.

This includes the environment of where the video was shot and the overall ‘attractiveness of a person.

If your video does not meet their criteria, your video might be averted from getting on the For You Page.

2. One or more of your videos have violated TikTok’s guidelines

TikTok violation

Secondly, if one or more of your videos have violated TikTok’s guidelines, your account may be shadowbanned.

You’re not allowed to post videos that are dangerous, illegal, or graphic.

If you post something that violates TikTok’s guidelines, they might shadowban you instead of permanently banning you.

I highly suggest that you go through their guidelines and read them thoroughly to avoid being shadowbanned in the future.

However, as of mid-2020, it’s worth noting that you will not be shadowbanned if you only violated their guidelines once.

TikTok is becoming more lenient on the shadowban because they’re overwhelmed with reports.

But that doesn’t mean that you can continuously post content that violates their guidelines.

You will still be shadowbanned if you do that.

3. You used too many hashtags

Another reason why you might be shadowbanned on TikTok is that you used too many hashtags.

Using too many hashtags, or a similar chunk of hashtags on the caption of your posts might result in a shadowban.

Generally, you should aim to use 1 to 2 trending hashtags and 1 to 2 niche hashtags on your caption.

As compared to other social media platforms (e.g. Instagram), you don’t really have to utilize a lot of hashtags on the caption of your posts in TikTok.

Moreover, the maximum number of characters your caption can contain is 100 characters which is very limited.

You cannot go over the caption limit.

4. You bought fake followers

Did you recently purchase fake followers or engagement?

Then that might result in a shadowban.

You should never buy fake followers because it will negatively affect your engagement rate.

On the other hand, buying engagement means that the likes on your posts will fluctuate.

5. You’re using a VPN

If you’re using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), it’s a red flag to TikTok.

You’ve most likely used a VPN because you want to change your geographic location.

If TikTok finds out that you’re using a VPN, they will shadowban you.

A big mistake people do is that they only turn on their VPN right before posting a video.

If you’re using a VPN, make sure to turn it on before even opening the app and use it throughout your session duration when you’re in the app.

If you have the app running on the background of your device, make sure to forcibly close the app first.

In addition, you should not be constantly posting different videos from different locations using a VPN.

How to fix the shadowban on TikTok

So, how do I fix the shadowban on TikTok?

To fix the shadowban on TikTok, you can either send them a support ticket, wait it out, continue posting, or create a new account.

Here’s how you can use these three methods in detail.

1. Send a support ticket

The first way you can fix the shadowban is to send a support ticket via the TikTok app.

You can do that by navigating to your profile > triple-dots icon > report a problem > write icon > tell us your feedback > report.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can do this.

1.1 Navigate to your settings

Firstly, go to your profile and tap on the triple-dots icon (at the top-right hand corner of your screen).

Then scroll down until the ‘support’ section.

Under ‘support’, tap on ‘Report a problem’.

How to report a problem on TikTok - 1

1.2 Tap on the write icon

Next, tap on the write icon (on the top-right hand corner of your screen).

This icon will open the feedback section where you can report a general problem.

How to report a problem on TikTok - 2

1.3 Tell them your problem

Lastly, tell them that your account has been shadowbanned and provide evidence of it.

Do provide pictures of your feed showing a sharp drop in your engagement rate.

How to report a problem on TikTok - 3

And there you have it.

You’ve learned how to send a support ticket to TikTok.

Do note that you have to be 100% sure that you’re shadowbanned before sending them a ticket.

2. Wait it out

The second method to fix the TikTok shadowban is to wait it out.

In most cases, the shadowban is temporary and will be automatically lifted after a maximum of 2 weeks.

However, if you violated TikTok’s guidelines repeatedly, there is a chance that your account might be permanently shadowbanned.

If that’s the case, then you should use the final method.

3. Continue posting

One of the most common mistakes people make after getting shadowbanned is that they stop posting.

If you get shadowbanned, you do not have to stop posting.

Instead, you should do the exact opposite and post as normal.

You should continue posting around 4 to 6 times a day for 1 or 2 weeks.

If you do this, your videos should be able to get back on the For You Page again.

4. Create a new account

The last resort is to create a new account and start from scratch.

This is a foolproof method to get rid of the shadowban.

Recently, there’s a ton of huge creators who created secondary accounts on TikTok.

It makes sense because if something negative happens to your main account, your secondary account can be used as a backup.

By creating a new account, you no longer have to deal with the shadowban unless you start posting content that violates TikTok’s guidelines.

If you’re using a new account, make sure that you’re not mentioning or engaging between your other account.

In addition, you should not repost content from your other account.

If you want to repost something, make sure that you’re recreating that piece of content completely.

How long does a shadowban last on TikTok?

How long does a shadowban last on TikTok?

A TikTok shadowban normally lasts for 7 to 14 days.

Typically, the TikTok shadowban will be lifted after one or two weeks. In the meantime, you should continue posting as per normal.

However, if you repeatedly violate TikTok’s guidelines, you might be shadowbanned for a longer period of time and you might even be permanently banned.

Is a shadowban permanent?

Is a TikTok shadowban permanent?

The answer is — no, a shadowban is not permanent.

As mentioned in the previous section, the shadowban will last for 7 to 14 days depending on your violation.

However, if your account gets reported too many times, you may be permanently banned from the platform.

How do I prevent the TikTok shadowban?

How do you prevent the shadowban from happening again?

Here are all the steps you should follow to prevent getting shadowbanned in the future.

1. Stop posting low-quality content

If you want to prevent being shadowbanned, or want to get on the For You Page, you have to stop posting low-quality content.

Don’t take it personally — but the main reason why your posts aren’t getting on the For You Page is that your content isn’t good enough.

If there are one or two videos that get really low engagement as compared to most of your other videos, then it’s very likely that the videos that you’ve posted are low-quality.

Before posting a video on TikTok, make sure to benchmark it with videos that are currently on the For You Page.

How is the quality of your video?

Does your video have good lighting?

Are you recording in a decent environment?

These are some questions you need to ask yourself before posting.

2. Don’t post anything that violates TikTok’s guidelines

To prevent being shadowbanned, you cannot post anything that violates TikTok’s guidelines.

It’s highly recommended that you read TikTok’s guidelines carefully; especially if you’re unsure whether something violates their guidelines or not.

If you post something that violates TikTok’s guidelines, your post may be reported.

Consequently, if the post does indeed violate their guidelines, it will be taken down and you might be shadowbanned.

3. Use a smaller number of hashtags

Instead of using the maximum number of hashtags in your caption, you should aim to use a lesser number of hashtags.

Use 1 to 2 trending hashtags (e.g. #fyp) and 1 to 2 niche hashtags (e.g. #artist).

Unlike other social media platforms (e.g. Instagram) where a lot of hashtags are needed to increase the reach of your post, TikTok is different.

This is because the virality of your video is linked to the number of times it’s being shown on someone’s For You Page.

4. Don’t buy fake followers

You should never buy fake followers or engagement because of a couple of reasons.

Your engagement rate will decrease/fluctuate and you might be shadowbanned.

Do not: Seek to or participate in selling or purchasing views, likes, followers, shares, or comments

Source: TikTok

Purchasing fake followers is also a violation of one of TikTok’s guidelines under integrity and authenticity.

5. Avoid using a VPN

Finally, you should avoid using a VPN.

A VPN enables you to post content in a different region.

If you use a VPN to post content in different regions in a short period of time, you may be shadowbanned.

Why do I keep getting shadowbanned on TikTok?

First of all, you need to check whether you’re actually shadowbanned or not.

As mentioned in the “How do I know if I’m shadowbanned on TikTok?” section above, you can check whether you’re shadowbanned by posting a video and adding an uncommon hashtag in the caption.

Next, you can either use a secondary account or ask your friend to search for the hashtag on TikTok.

If your video appears on the search result for the hashtag, then you are not shadowbanned.

If that’s the case, then you’ve probably posted low-quality content.

However, if your post does not appear on the search results, then you are indeed shadowbanned.

There can be many reasons why you keep getting shadowbanned on TikTok:

  • Your content is of low-quality.
  • Your video has violated one or more of TikTok’s guidelines.
  • You used too many hashtags.
  • You bought fake followers/engagement.
  • You’re using a VPN.

Does any of these reasons look familiar to you?

If they do, then you should try to avoid doing these things.

Otherwise, you should start focusing on creating quality content that are native to TikTok.

Conclusion

If you noticed a consistent, sharp drop in your views/engagement rate in your new posts, then you might be shadowbanned.

Otherwise, your content might be of poor quality which prevents it from getting on the For You Page.

TikTok has a rigorous moderation policy that decides whether a post can get to the For You Page or not.

If your content is low in quality (e.g. poor environment, bad lighting), then your post might not have a chance of making on the For You Page.

That’s just how the platform is run — TikTok only wants to show the best content on the For You Page so that people are more likely to stay in the app.

Further Reading

How to Get on The For You Page on TikTok

What is a TikTok handle?

How to Unfollow People On Instagram Fast

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About the author

Lim How Wei

Lim How Wei is the founder of followchain.org, with over 7+ years of experience in Social Media and 3+ years of experience in investing in stocks and cryptocurrencies. He has researched, tested, and written hundreds of articles ranging from social media platforms to messaging apps.