Everything You Need to Know about TikTok Shadow Ban

Noticed a significant drop in your TikTok engagement lately? You might be a victim of shadow banning, which can seriously damage your performance on the platform. This essentially means that your content is shown to fewer people, which would automatically lead to lower engagement rates.

But what exactly is a TikTok shadow ban and why does it happen? If your account has been shadow banned, how do you remove it? This post serves as the ultimate guide to help you understand everything you need to know about shadow banning on TikTok. Let’s find out.

TikTok Shadow Ban: Everything You Need to Know:

What is a TikTok Shadow Ban?

A TikTok shadow ban is when TikTok restricts your account visibility without notification. Essentially, your account becomes blocked or muted temporarily, which means that your content won’t show up in users’ “For You” pages or in the app’s hashtags section. The decreased visibility automatically translates to a drop in engagements as well since people aren’t seeing your content to be able to engage with it.

Shadow banning is a way for TikTok to penalize your account for violating their Community Guidelines. So your account may be put on timeout for posting inappropriate content or copyright violations, for example. It's important to note that TikTok doesn’t officially admit to shadow banning users’ accounts. However, there’s enough information to suggest that the app puts temporary restrictions on certain accounts at certain times.

How to Tell If You’ve Been Shadow Banned

Getting shadow banned can be extremely frustrating. What makes it even more frustrating is that you might not even realize that you’re being shadow banned in the first place. TikTok doesn’t notify you when your account visibility gets restricted, and that’s exactly why it’s called a “shadow” ban. So how do you figure out whether you’ve been shadow banned?

In some cases, your engagement may be dropping simply because the quality of your content isn’t up to par. But in general, here are a few telltale signs that your account has been put on timeout with a TikTok shadow ban.

Signs TikTok Shadow Ban

Your numbers see a significant drop

The first and most obvious sign of a TikTok shadow ban is a drop in your views, likes, and shares. While there’s bound to be some fluctuations here and there, a massive nosedive is cause for concern. This is particularly true if you’ve been consistently witnessing a rise in those numbers, and it suddenly stops.

You’re no longer showing up on “For You” pages

The “For You” page is where your content usually ends up if your account is doing well on TikTok. Usually, your content will be displayed to users who regularly interact with accounts similar to yours. However, when accounts get shadow banned on TikTok, their content is no longer visible on the “For You” pages of relevant users.

So get your friends to check if your content has suddenly disappeared from their “For You” pages. This is another effective way to cross-check whether TikTok has decided to restrict your content visibility on the app.

For You button TikTok

You’re no longer showing up in relevant searches

Similarly, a restriction on your account will also affect your visibility in searches. This means that your content won’t show up even if users search for the keywords and hashtags you’re using. Get a friend to search for the keywords and hashtags in your content to see if your content is showing up in the results.

Your videos aren’t uploading

If you’ve been consistently experiencing issues with video uploads, this could be another sign that your account is shadow banned by TikTok. When an account is under a shadow ban, videos may spend a long time “processing” or “under review.” If this has been happening for a long time although your internet seems to be working fine, you might have been hit with a shadow ban.

3 Possible Reasons to Get Shadow Banned on TikTok

So what might have landed you in hot water in the first place? How does TikTok decide which accounts to restrict? There could be a number of reasons for getting shadow banned on TikTok, with the main one being in violation of the TikTok Community Guidelines. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why TikTok might shadow ban your account.

Reason #1: You’re violating the TikTok Community Guidelines

According to TikTok, the platform will temporarily or permanently ban accounts that have been repeatedly or severely violating their Community Guidelines. There are several different types of violations that could land you in trouble with the TikTok algorithm. These include:

TikTok Violations Types

Posting adult content

TikTok prohibits users from posting content related to pornography, nudity, or sexual activity. So if you share sexually explicit content, you could get shadow banned on the platform. In some cases, your account may get permanently banned from TikTok due to repeated violations.

Promoting dangerous acts and challenges

TikTok has no shortage of teenagers coming up with stunts and challenges that can be extremely dangerous. From participants consuming excessive amounts of Benadryl to children holding their breath until they black out–the platform has been a source of viral challenges that are highly dangerous. To make the platform a safer place for everyone, TikTok prohibits content that depicts, promotes, or normalizes dangerous acts that could result in severe injury or death.

As such, brands and influencers alike must be very careful with the types of TikTok challenges they promote and the content they create. If you’ve been sharing content that falls under this category, don’t be surprised if TikTok decides to shadow ban your account.

Engaging in bullying and harassment

TikTok aims to create an inclusive community that promotes individual expression. They have zero tolerance to shaming, bullying, or harassment. Any content that can be deemed abusive, threatening, or harassing towards other users could put your account at risk of getting shadow banned.

Engaging in hateful behavior

In line with the above, TikTok has zero tolerance for discrimination. Any content that involves hateful behavior, contains hate speech, or promotes hateful ideology can be removed from the platform. Moreover, if you’ve engaged in multiple hate speech violations, your account could be banned by TikTok.

Displaying violent extremism

TikTok prohibits users from using the platform to incite or threaten violence. Similarly, any content that promotes violent extremist organizations, individuals, or acts is considered a violation of the Community Guidelines. So if your content happens to violate these terms, you could end up getting shadow banned.

Infringing copyrights

One of the most common causes of a TikTok shadow ban is copyright infringement. This would essentially involve posting content created by someone else or infringing on their copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights. While TikTok allows you to reuse other users’ content through Duets and Stitches, you have to add something original to it. Otherwise, blatantly reposting someone else’s copyrighted content could land you in trouble.

Reason #2: You’re engaging in spammy behavior

Sometimes, it’s not just the content of your videos that could put you at risk of getting shadow banned on TikTok. Any behavior or activity that could be deemed as inauthentic and spammy may also result in your account getting restricted. This may involve acting like a bot such as bulk following other accounts (especially when you’ve just created your account) or flooding the feed with new content.

Additionally, buying or selling fake engagements could land you in hot water since this goes strictly against TikTok’s Community Guidelines. Impersonating someone else or spreading harmful misinformation are some other activities that might result in your account getting shadow banned.

Reason #3: You got shadow banned by accident

More often than not, a shadow ban may be accidental rather than intentional. Even if your content follows the TikTok Community Guidelines to a tee, it’s important to note that the platform relies on an algorithm to enforce these rules. As such, certain topics or videos can be mistakenly flagged by the algorithm, which could result in an accidental shadow ban.

5 Tips to Remove a TikTok Shadow Ban

You’ve looked at your numbers and come to the conclusion that your account is indeed shadow banned by TikTok. So what’s next for you? Here are some steps you can take to remove a TikTok shadow ban.

Effective Ways to Lift a Shadow Ban TikTok

1. Double-check for Community Guideline violations

To rule out an accidental shadow ban, make sure to double-check whether you’ve accidentally violated the TikTok Community Guidelines. Cross-reference the rules with the content you’ve posted and the comments you’ve made to get a better picture of whether you’ve been flagged by the algorithm.

For example, it may be something as “harmless” as using a song in your video that’s not a part of the TikTok music library. Sure, the song may be perfect for the message you want to convey, but it might be the main culprit behind your account’s limited visibility. This may get your account shadow banned because you’re infringing on someone else’s copyrights.

2. Remove any violating content

Next, if you suspect that any piece of content is in violation of the TikTok Community Guidelines, your best bet is to remove it from your account. Sometimes, TikTok might explicitly tell you which of your videos have been flagged so you know just what to remove to get in the algorithm’s good graces again.

However, in the case of a shadow ban, it might be a little tricky since you might not even get notified about which video is the offending party. In this case, you’d have to use common sense along with your cross-reference of the Community Guidelines to pick which video should be removed.

how to delete tiktok content

3. Cease any spammy behavior

As mentioned earlier, it’s not necessarily the content of your video that’s resulting in a TikTok shadow ban. Sometimes, you may also get shadow banned for engaging in behavior that the platform considers inauthentic and spammy. Carefully assess what actions you’ve taken recently that could be resulting in the ban.

For instance, you may have bulk-followed some accounts because you suddenly got inspired to connect with more people. Or you may have pushed out too many videos at once because you wanted to keep up with your content creation goals. Alternatively, you might have recently signed up for a service that claims to be able to help you “boost your engagement” by posting tons of TikTok comments from bot accounts.

Whatever the specific activity may be, it’s time to put it to a stop if you want to remove a shadow ban on your account. Moreover, you should avoid engaging in similar behavior in the future so as to prevent further restrictions.

4. Delete and reinstall the app

While removing the offending video will usually do the trick, you might even need to go a step further by removing and reinstalling the app. This will clear the cache and/or update the app to make it fully functioning again. In most cases, you’ll be able to start getting engagements on your videos again after this step.

5. Wait it out

Most TikTok shadow bans last for about two weeks (although some users report experiencing a ban for much longer). So if none of the options above work for you, then you might just need to wait it out until TikTok removes the shadow ban. This may also mean that your engagement will suffer for the next couple of weeks. However, it might be the only option you have left if the other steps don’t do the trick.

If you don’t want to wait that long, consider reporting the problem to TikTok. Check out the TikTok Support page on how to do this.

Avoid Getting Shadow Banned on TikTok

A shadow ban on TikTok can significantly harm your efforts to engage and grow your TikTok community. So it’s crucial that you’re closely following the Community Guidelines and posting high-quality content that’s in compliance with the platform’s rules to avoid getting shadow banned. Make sure you only create content that’s safe for everyone on the platform, so it doesn’t get flagged by censors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does TikTok shadow ban last?

A TikTok shadow ban typically lasts for two weeks, although some users might experience it for longer.

How do I fix a shadow ban on TikTok?

You can fix a shadow ban on TikTok by removing your offending video and ensuring that you’re not in violation of the Community Guidelines.

How do I know if I’m shadow banned on TikTok?

A sudden and significant drop in numbers combined with a lack of visibility in “For You” pages are some of the main signs of being shadow banned on TikTok.

Why is no one viewing my TikTok?

If you’re suddenly not getting any views on TikTok, it’s possible that your account has been shadow banned.

What causes shadow banning on TikTok?

Shadow banning often happens when your content violates the TikTok Community Guidelines. Sometimes, it may also happen accidentally since TikTok uses an algorithm to enforce its rules.

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.