Many social media platforms keep their algorithm criteria off the record. However, Twitter has been fairly open about what it is willing to do in order to keep Twitter a positive experience for its community. But if you think Twitter is limiting the distribution or visibility of your content you may have fallen prey to a Twitter shadowban or ghost ban.
One of the most frequent topics in social media discussion is the shadowban. Each social media network has its own set of rules and algorithms that determine what shows up on a user’s feed. However, there continues to be an air of mystery around how this works, especially when a network’s algorithm is always changing.
Being shadowbanned takes away your chance to reach your customers and potential customers on Twitter. You become less relevant. Your digital marketing strategy takes a massive hit when you’re no longer front and center on user’s feeds.
Keep reading for the ins and outs of the Twitter shadowban and how to avoid it. The best way to stay on Twitter’s good side is to be informed and proactive. You’ve got this!
What Is a Twitter Shadowban?
In 2020, Twitter updated its terms and service to include this:
“We may also remove or refuse to distribute any content on the services, limit distribution or visibility of any content on the service, suspend or terminate users, and reclaim usernames without liability to you”.
Twitter will deny the existence of a shadowban but its terms of service seems to describe one. It just doesn’t identify with that term. If the visibility of any content is limited, that can mean you are ghost banned.
With a shadowban you may experience the following:
- Your profile doesn’t show in a people search or as a search suggestion.
- Your tweets are not seen by your followers on their main feed or in their list of followers.
- Your actions are not showing up in people’s notifications. For example, if you follow someone, they won’t be notified.
- Your replies are not displayed beneath the corresponding tweets.
There are a few things that can affect the ranking of your tweets on Twitter. Twitter explains that it ranks tweets on both feeds and search results. So to know exactly if you are shadowbanned can be tricky.
The more popular your tweets are, the higher they will rank. This is why politicians and celebrities are ranked so high. Twitter has been very clear that they will rank bad-faith actors lower who seem to manipulate or divide conversation.
To avoid a shadowban or simply a low ranking on the algorithm you need to keep in mind a few things, but it is not out of your control.
How to Avoid a Twitter Shadowban
Why would Twitter be limiting the distribution or visibility of user’s tweets? Twitter wants to hold a good reputation for good content. If someone goes into Twitter and they are shown offensive or spam content, they may decide Twitter is not for them.
Similarly, if people see information that is not true or fake news, Twitter can gain a reputation for nonsense. This is why Twitter will limit bad-faith actors.
Signals Twitter uses to determine bad faith actors:
- If you don’t have a profile image
- If you haven’t confirmed your email address
- How recently your account was created
- Who you follow and who you retweet
- Who mutes or blocks you, follows you and retweets you
To test to see if you are shadowbanned you can always log out of your account and then search your own username on Twitter. You can also use shadowban.eu to test out your username.
Twitter’s goal is to receive fewer abuse reports and spam reports. The number of reports lets them know if their user experience is staying positive.
Following The Twitter Rules is essential to staying on Twitter. However, some behaviors on Twitter are in the grey zone. This is when you end up with a shadowban. The following behaviors are likely to get your account flagged and shadowbanned.
If you are trying to promote something new for your business, make sure you aren’t over-posting the same content. It’s understandable you’re excited about a new launch, but don’t let that launch cross the line and become spam. You also don’t want to be posting the same message across multiple accounts.
If you connect your Twitter account to third-party apps, it’s important to double-check that they will not retweet automatically to your timeline. Go into the app’s settings and uncheck any selections that give the app permission to tweet on your account automatically.
Following and Unfollowing Many Accounts
This is sometimes referred to as churning. Users will use this strategy to build a following. They will request to follow many accounts and then if they don’t follow them back, they unfollow. There are some bots that do this for you in huge amounts. This can get your account entirely banned from Twitter.
Hashtag Trend Hijacking
When a hashtag is trending, users might decide to use it in their content in order to show up on the trending searches. However, when your content is completely unrelated to the trending topic and you still use the hashtag, this is considered hashtag trend hijacking and can result in a Twitter shadowban.
This can also happen if you are using trending text without the hashtag but also without relevant content. You only want your content to show up for people who want to see it. If you’re using irrelevant text and hashtags to get attention, you can be sure that will be negative attention.
Harassing Other Users
In addition to staying on Twitter’s good side, you also want to stay on other users’ good sides. Any behavior that would not be socially acceptable in real life is not going to do you any favors on Twitter.
If you are constantly getting into arguments or giving other users a hard time, your account will get muted and blocked by them. This puts up a red flag for Twitter to come along and limit the visibility of your content and profile.
The best way to avoid a shadowban is to be a person on Twitter that people like. Don’t try to get around the algorithm or grow a following unauthentically. Keep other people in mind and you will have positive results. If you’re adding positive experiences to Twitter users, they won’t want to shadowban you. So carry on with your fantastic content and don’t give anyone a reason to move you out of the spotlight.