It takes years to build up a loyal social media following. Getting a shadowban on Twitter can undo years of work in a flash. So what can you do? Is all that work down the tubes?
Let’s talk about how shadowbans happen and what to do in the event it happens to you.
What Is Shadow Banning?
It takes time, dedication, talent, and strategic planning to develop organic reach on Twitter. While organic reach is free, paying for a graphic designer, copywriter, and social media manager is anything but. So losing organic reach costs quite a bit.
Simply put, shadowbanning, (also known as stealth banning or ghost banning) happens when a social media company limits the organic reach of one of their user’s accounts.
Why would they do this? Doesn’t a social media platform want its users to get their content seen?
A shadowban can happen for a couple of reasons. The reason for the ban varies across platforms, but it comes down to the account breaking the platform’s terms and conditions.
When it comes to Twitter, they will implement this ban in three different ways, depending on the severity of the infraction(s):
- Thread shadowbans: Twitter will limit users from seeing when you comment on other Tweet threads.
- Search suggestion bans: Twitter will block users from seeing your account when they search for you.
- Full search bans: Twitter bans all of your content and your whole account from any search results.
Every social media company has some variation on this system of shadowbanning. So if you’re shadowbanned, does that mean you can’t tweet anymore?
A shadowban and an account suspension are two different things. If you have enough infractions, you’ll lose the power to Tweet, comment, and share content, which is called a suspension. With a shadowban, you can still create content. Twitter just makes it more difficult for people to find it, see it organically, or interact with it.
What Causes a Shadowban on Twitter?
Like all social media platforms, Twitter’s content guidelines will always change. Keeping up with rules and regulations will help limit the chances of creating content that is shadowban-worthy. Here are some of the most common reasons accounts experience a shadowban.
- Harassment of other Twitter users. This needs no explanation.
- Hijacking trending hashtags. If you abuse a trending hashtag to promote unrelated content, you could get a shadowban. For example, if people are Tweeting about #Ukraine to spread information on the crisis, using that trending hashtag to promote your small business is abusing that hashtag.
- Behavior that looks like spam. If you’re link-dropping constantly in unrelated threads or commenting the same thing over and over again, Twitter sees that as spamming.
- Systematically following and unfollowing on a large scale. If you’re doing a follow or follow system and then unfollowing to boost your numbers, Twitter will notice.
Rate Limit Twitter
Did you know that there’s only so much content you can create on Twitter in a day?
Twitter’s help page about Twitter limits explains why they have these in place. “Limits alleviate some of the strain on the behind-the-scenes part of Twitter and reduce downtime and error pages. For the sake of reliability, we’ve placed some limits on the account actions below.”
Here are those limits as currently stated in their policies:
- 1,000 direct messages
- 2,400 tweets (further broken down into hourly limits)
- 4 account email changes per hour
- 400 follows (after you follow 5,000 accounts, you then have additional limits)
So if you’ve been aggressively following, messaging, or tweeting at an alarming rate, Twitter may shadowban your account in search results.
You can look up different shadow ban checkers to see if your account has been shadowbanned. However, the easiest and most reliable way is doing the check yourself through the Twitter search bar.
- Open an incognito tab.
- Go to the Twitter explore page
- Type your Twitter username into the search bar
If you see your Twitter account, posts, and replies, when you search for your username, you aren’t shadowbanned.
If you don’t see your Twitter profile or latest comments, your account has been shadowbanned in some form. Try to figure out what transgression your account has made. If you need assistance or think the shadowban was given in error, reach out to the Twitter support team for help. Even though these social media support teams have a frustrating reputation, they are there to help.
So You Don’t Have a Shadowban on Twitter. What Next?
So you did the check. You don’t have a shadowban on Twitter. So why does your content not have the same amount of reach you typically see?
Think about the content you’re posting. Have you changed anything recently? Try returning to the style of your previous content or using successful hashtags from before. Have you been keeping with the status quo? It’s time to shake up your content schedule. Algorithms constantly change on every social media platform. To keep your content appearing at the top of the search results, you need to stay adrift to the latest algorithm changes. You also need to think about your audience and figure out what content will give them value. Even if you have incredible reach, if your fans don’t engage with your posts or find value in them, your growth will stagnate or even regress.Published in
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.