How to Tell If You Are Being ‘Shadow Banned’ on Facebook
Facebook has not exactly been a role model in privacy and security. They have undergone many investigations into how they handle user data. The world’s largest social media platform reportedly uses user data as a bargaining chip in striking deals with competitors.
So, the government plans to slap antitrust lawsuits against Facebook. This is for apparently using its powerful market position to stifle competition. These are just among the several privacy issues raised against Facebook. And that’s without mentioning “shadowbanning.”
While the sale of our data for a profit is a pressing matter, shadowbanning is a bit less severe of a topic. Back in 2015, Facebook filed and completed a patent to “moderate content in an online forum. While this sounds completely benign, this patent could be fatal for several reasons.
When someone is shadow banned, their posts on that platform are invisible to everyone. But, the posts remain visible to themselves. Their presence on that platform is limited, and their voice is effectively suppressed. If we’re being technical, the patent’s complete abstract reads:
“Users of social networking system are provided with user interface elements permitting the user to post comments on pages within the social networking system. Pages may be provided for any non-user entity, including for example, pages for businesses, products, concepts, etc. Embodiments provided herein permit page moderators to ban certain content from being displayed on a page. For example, the social networking system may receive a list of proscribed content and block comments containing the proscribed content by reducing the distribution of those comments to other viewing users. However, the social networking system may display the blocked content to the commenting user such that the commenting user is not made aware that his or her comment was blocked, thereby providing fewer incentives to the commenting user to spam the page or attempt to circumvent the social networking system filters.”
What this means is that Facebook reserves the right to moderate what content people see. “Proscribed” means prohibited or forbidden by law. So, if Facebook sees proscribed content, it may limit the visibility of such content. This content is displayed only to the sharing user. And often, they won’t be aware that they’ve been shadow banned. Facebook does this to prevent the user from spamming the page. This also prevents them from finding loopholes in the filtering system.
The Use of Shadowbanning
The main purpose of shadowbanning is to keep feeds clean and social media users happy. Facebook does not want people spreading spammy or offensive content. (Related: 5 Ways To Attract Social Media Followers)
Signs of Shadowbanning
Since Facebook does not inform you of this shadowban, you won’t really know if you’re experiencing it. You could go about your day, posting and sharing content, and you could not notice anything wrong. Here are the telltale signs of shadowbanning:
- Decreased Engagement
A significant drop in reactions, comments, and overall interactions. This could be a sign of shadowbanning. Posts that used to reach hundreds of interactions may struggle to get even a fraction of that.
- Limited Visibility
Another way to detect a shadow ban is by checking if your posts show up on your friend’s feeds. If posts are hidden from others and can only be seen on your profile, it’s likely that you’ve been shadow banned.
Ways to Avoid a Shadowban
- Create Valuable Content
Focus on sharing high-quality and valuable posts that engage your audience. Avoid spammy or repetitive content that may trigger Facebook’s Algorithms.
- Organic Growth
Do not use bots or artificial means to gain followers or likes. Facebook can detect and penalize such practices.
- Hashtag Usage
Be cautious with hashtags. avoid using banned or controversial hashtags that could flag your posts.
Steps for Resolving a Facebook Shadowban
If you suspect you’ve been shadowbanned by Facebook, here are some things you can do:
- You can visit Facebook’s help center to find an explanation about why you’re experiencing it.
- If you have a business account, take a look at this page.
- If you have an ads account, you can contact Facebook advertising support. Get a support rep to review your page and ad account.
- If you receive a notification about a restriction on your account, check for an option to appeal. Use the provided appeal form to present your case and request a review.
Who can get shadowbanned?
Anyone. No matter who you are or how many friends and followers you have, you can receive the Facebook shadowban. Legit accounts following rules could be just as much at risk as a malicious account.
Shadowbanning is still a work in progress, so you can expect to have some outliers here and there. Facebook uses this to enhance the customer experience. So you shouldn’t take it personally. In some cases, the platform may have made a mistake in banning you even when you’ve done nothing wrong.
What does this mean for me?
A shadowban can be bad for businesses relying on Facebook for conducting transactions. But for personal accounts, this may not be as severe. There are a few things you can do to remedy this situation.
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About The Author
Rei Bayucca has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a professional writer for multiple industries. It is her mission to ensure that her readers receive high-quality, informative content that is both entertaining and educational. Through her writing, Rei aims to educate and motivate readers.