In recent years, the term “shadow banning” has become more and more common, particularly in social media circles. But what exactly does it mean? And how does it affect users? In this blog post, we will explore the definition of shadow banning, the reasons behind it, and the potential impact on social media users.

Shadow banning is a term used to describe a situation in which a creator’s content is hidden from other users without the creator being notified or otherwise aware. Essentially, the content is live on your social media timeline but algorithmically hidden from your audience.

This type of ban is different from a traditional ban, where a user is completely blocked from a platform, or their content is removed entirely.

A shadow ban is more insidious than a typical ban because the creator or influencer doesn’t even realize their content is being hidden, leading to a false sense of engagement and a belief that their posts are being seen by others.

The reasons behind shadow banning are varied. In some cases, it may be done to prevent spam, fake news, or other unwanted content from flooding a platform. In other cases, it may be done to reduce the visibility of posts that violate a platform’s rules or guidelines, such as hate speech or false information. In reality, I think it’s a lot simpler than all that; you’re just not following the “Mean Girls” rules.

It’s hard to explain how to become popular, you just know it when you see it.

You see this with Search Engine Optimization for Google or Bing as well. The rules behind the popularity algorithm are a closely held secret. There are marketing and data scientists who try to decipher the rules of the popularity algorithm, but no one really understands all the nuances.

Maybe you’re not posting enough, or maybe you’re posting too often. Your content could be getting fewer likes, and you’re in a steady decline over time (which could be because of the algorithm). Maybe you touched on some content that is controversial. Maybe you took a month off to get your head right (social media can be a minefield after all). Whatever the reason it’s apparent that once you’re on the popularity treadmill, you can’t get off, and you can’t make a mistake or the algorithm will abandon you to the wolves.

So how does shadow banning work?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as different platforms may have different methods for implementing shadow bans. However, some common methods include:

  • Reducing the visibility of your posts.
  • Limiting the reach of posts.
  • Removing posts from search results or trending topics.
  • Reducing the number of followers or likes that a post receives, making it less likely to be seen by others.

While shadow banning can be an effective way to maintain the quality of content on a platform, it can also have unintended consequences. For example, a user may be unfairly targeted for shadow banning.

This can be especially problematic for users who rely on social media for their business or personal brand. If their content is hidden from view, they may not be able to reach their intended audience, which can have a negative impact on their engagement and revenue. This is especially nefarious when social platforms are asking you to leverage their platform to build an audience, grow a business, and sell products.

Another potential issue with shadow banning is the lack of transparency around the practice. Because users are not notified when their content is shadow banned, it can be difficult for them to understand why their posts are not getting the engagement they expect. This can lead to frustration and a lack of trust in the platform, which can ultimately harm the user experience.

Despite these potential issues, shadow banning is likely to remain a common practice on social media platforms. As the volume of content on these platforms continues to grow, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain a high level of quality and prevent the spread of misinformation.

This is exactly why you want to replicate your content on to an open platform – like WordPress – that you own and have full control over. Make sure your audience knows where they can find you and engage your content, even if social platforms are pushing you aside. If you want to Own your Influence, you have to own your content and your audience.