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Everything you need to know about TikTok’s shadow ban

Author: Sophie Drew

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A shadow ban on TikTok is where your account gets partially blocked or sometimes permanently banned. If you’ve noticed that your engagement has suddenly dropped, this is likely because you’ve been shadow banned. A typical shadow ban lasts for 2 weeks, but other users have claimed that a TikTok shadow ban can sometimes last for months.

What is shadow banning?

If your TikTok account has been shadow banned your content won’t show up on their ‘For You Page’ so you will likely experience a decrease in engagement in terms of likes, shares, comments, and follows. This also negatively impacts the growth of users and the discoverability of their accounts.

This is an automatic process that is done by TikTok’s algorithm which occurs when a creator has uploaded content that can be perceived as spam behavior, inappropriate or offensive content, a threat, or there are copyright issues. On top of this hate speech, drug use, fake news or even copyrighted music also break their community guidelines. In some extreme scenarios, this behaviour has led to users having a permanently banned TikTok account, other users in less extreme or harmful scenarios will just experience some account restrictions.

What are TikTok's community guidelines?

TikTok’s community guidelines are there to emphasise how the app prioritises maintaining a safe community for its users and promotes inclusion, individuality, diversity, and acceptance. From discrimination and hateful behavior such as bullying or harassment, there are a number of things that can result in your account getting shadow banned.

What warrants a TikTok shadow ban?

Here are the top 4 causes of shadow banning:

  • Bullying or harassment
  • Posting adult content
  • Copyright concerns
  • By accident


1) Bullying or harassment

If you comment, post or share anything that can be perceived as hate, you risk a shadow ban. This isn’t taken lightly as TikTok is huge on inclusivity. Furthermore, TikTok doesn’t allow the promotion of crime and terrorism or the glorification of suffering or violence.


2) Posting adult content

This falls under the “forbidden” section of TikTok’s community guidelines. This includes showing nudity, pornography, or something explicit or overtly sexualized content which all violate TikTok’s community guidelines. Posting inappropriate content like this can lead to your TikTok account being permanently banned from the TikTok app as it is completely intolerable behavior.


3) Copyright concerns

TikTok also has a zero-tolerance policy for creators that post content that isn’t their own. This includes uploading content that infringes someone’s copyrights or trademarks. Stay original and you’ll be fine!


4) By accident

TikTok users have found that the platform doesn’t always get it right. This is the challenge that comes with automated moderation. Some people use the TikTok app to speak and educate people about their own hateful experiences which means they could use words that TikTok has censored, and this could lead to TikTok shadow-banning the account. This is a real negative because TikTok should promote content like this instead of flagging and removing it.


How to know if you're experiencing a TikTok shadow ban?

The confusing part is that TikTok doesn’t actually tell you when they have shadow banned your account. This can sometimes lead to the restrictions going unnoticed by users. There are some clear indicators that you can look out for if you’re worried that your Tiktok account has been shadow banned.


Here are some useful tips to help you determine whether you experience shadow banning:

  1. Your content doesn’t come up in search results
  2. Your TikTok account and content is not shown on their ‘For You Page’
  3. Your videos will say ‘under review’ when you’re trying to upload
  4. There will be a negative impact on your engagement rates

How to get rid of a TikTok shadow ban

Unfortunately, there’s not one simple step that can counteract a TikTok shadow ban, but there are a few things to consider which can help you get you’re TikTok account running as normal again.

  • Remove all of your flagged content
  • Follow the TikTok rules and community guidelines as best as you can
  • Avoid spam-like behaviour


1) Remove all of your flagged content

Delete the content and avoid posting anything that can be considered inappropriate or hateful.


2) Follow community guidelines

Ensure that your content is inclusive, appropriate, and original. Do not promote fake news, crime, or terrorism, and stick to creating videos that will contribute to building a fun, but safe environment for you and other TikTok users.


3) Avoid spam-like behaviour

Mass posting and commenting can be seen as spam-like behaviour can make genuine TikTok users seem like bot accounts.




Written by

Sophie Drew

Sophie has joined our team as a Marketing Assistant who loves to write content and is always keen to learn about everything going on in the world of digital. Sophie enjoys spending time with her Family, Friends and Boyfriend and loves to dance!

Learn more about Sophie Drew