What is Shadow Banning and How Do I Stop It?
- April 20, 2021
- Bradley Taylor
Shadow banning is the act, by a social media company, of limiting who can see your posts. They don’t tell you that they are doing it hence its name. It is done, in their minds, to prevent a person they deem to be controversial from affecting others. Unfortunately, it really isn’t that simple. It has been used to silence people on one end of the political spectrum who do not line up with the politics of the social media company itself.
Shadow banning is a practice long suspected of being employed by many tech companies. Users and even famous people (with blue checkmarks next to their names) have been complaining about it for years. It was always sort of an unconfirmed practice. But in 2019 Facebook actually applied for the patent on their own unique shadow banning technology.
It does seem counterintuitive for a social platform , whose job it is to allow people to freely communicate and attract as many users as possible, to then work in the shadows against a large segment of that group.
But it wasn’t that many years ago that Facebook was discovered selling their users info to nefarious overseas companies. This is when many users woke up to what social media platforms (and other free online) services actually are, which is a harvesting program where you and your information ARE the product.
Google has long been in the information gathering and manipulation business as well. That gmail account you have isn’t free because of the kindness of Google’s heart. Your demographic information is being sold and they are legally allowed to scan your email content any time they want. Many people know this and still use gmail anyway. Heck, I use a gmail account for some business dealings. I have no other choice when it comes to utilizing some of their services which are unique and invaluable.
Instagram, a Facebook company, admits to shadow banning but says it is for only a 14 day period. They claim they shadow ban for the following offenses:
- Using unapproved software with Instagram
- You are being continually reported
- Using inappropriate hashtags (whatever that means)
The fact is that companies are now fessing-up to a practice they have employed for years but they insist it is all very legitimate and fair. But who watches the watchers? Well, the watchers of course.
How to Get Unbanned
There is no official recourse if you have been shadow banned. In fact, there is no real way to confirm that you are shadow banned. All you can do is keep your opinions to yourself and don’t share them on social media. Like people’s posts, say generically approving comments, and perhaps enough time will go by where you fall off the shadow banned list.
Facebook uses thousands of interns to do this dirty work. The interns are not told to make judgements for themselves. They are probably told to shadow ban the person if they are flagged by the algorithm. If you are able to get in contact with an actual person from Facebook (most people are not able to achieve this), who is not an intern, perhaps you can tell them you believe your posts aren’t being seen by all of your contacts. Don’t mention shadow banning. Play dumb. They like that.