You’ve probably been hearing about shadowbanning a lot recently, particularly on Instagram. There is a belief that Instagram will “shadowban” or “stealth ban” particular accounts without the account owners knowing. Because there’s been so much talk about it, it’s important to consider what it actually is – and if it’s even real.
What is “shadowbanning”?
According to its dedicated Wikipedia page, shadowbanning “is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned.” In essence, this concept makes it so that your posts or profile are hidden from people who don’t already follow you. From a business standpoint, that doesn’t sound very good; when you’re trying to grow your account, the last think you want is for nobody else to see it. However, as you’ll come to find out, that really isn’t the case.
What platforms are affected by “shadowbanning”?
Shadowbanning has most recently been “called out” on Instagram, Reddit, Craigslist, and Twitter. In fact, back in 2018, Twitter came under fire for allegedly hiding the accounts of many figures within the Republican Party, leading to what was essentially a debate regarding censorship. However, Twitter vehemently denied the allegations.
Additionally, because of all the complaints from people about being shadowbanned, there have been many outlets providing advice to reverse the effects of the ban. This advice ranges anywhere from quitting use of the affected apps to using a form of software to detect a shadowban.
But now, the most important question…is it ACTUALLY real?
Contrary to (very) popular belief, no, “shadowbanning” is NOT real. At least, not in the sense in which most people are talking about it.
For the most part, social media platforms have services implemented to reduce the amount of spam accounts on the platform. These accounts can range from bots to “catfishers.” Nonetheless, their posts and accounts are more likely to be banned for not being real humans. To that degree, sure. There’s a form of shadowbanning happening, if you want to call it that. Those fake accounts won’t always be aware that their content is being hidden.
However, for the most part, shadowbanning is what people blame when the engagement on their posts has gone down. While it can be frustrating, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your content is being hidden. The most likely culprit for decreased engagement is less interesting content. Don’t worry – that’s easy to fix with photos that stand out from the rest, ample use of hashtags, and paying close attention to your analytics. Your content really makes or breaks your presence on social media. When you’re posting more interesting and eye-catching content and making the most of your platform, you’re sure to start seeing the results you want.
If you’re still not entirely certain how to make your social media work for you, no worries! You’re in the right place. Reach out to us here at Blackwood Creative. We’re experts on social media marketing and content creation – let’s work together and create something beautiful.