Social Media

My Unofficial Guide to X Shadow Banning

What is a Shadow Ban?

There are different types of shadow bans.

Search Suggestion Ban – This type of ban stops you from appearing in the search bar, as shown below. It also, in my experience, seems to cause your posts to appear less often on other people’s timelines. I’ve experienced a great loss in impressions whilst under a search suggestion ban. You will still show up in the search bar for yourself, but not for other users. Therefore you’re unlikely to know that you’re affected unless someone else tells you, or you run a test.

You won’t show up in searches for other people.

Search Ban – This type of ban stops your tweets from showing up in search results entirely.

Reply Deboosting – You’ll have noticed that, at the very bottom of an active comments section, you will often see a section of hidden replies. They only load when you click ‘show more replies’. X have decided that these users might engage in harmful behaviour, so hide their comments behind a barrier. This is reply deboosting.

Ghost Ban – A ghost ban is the most brutal type of shadow ban, in my experience. It is also known as a thread ban, because it stops other users from being able to see your replies at all. Everything will look normal to you, but you won’t be able to engage in comment sections. Naturally, this can be extremely frustrating, and will have a huge impact on your impressions and your user experience.

How Do I Know If I’m Shadow Banned?

There’s a very handy test located at shadowban.yuzurisa.com. It will tell you not only if you are shadow banned, but also which type of shadow ban you currently have. Be aware that it will quite often throw up an error that says ‘we were unable to test for technical reasons’ and as far as I can tell, this is just simply a problem with the test that doesn’t at all reflect whether you’re shadow banned or not. There are other tests available, however, I find this one most reliable, and it often picks up bans where similar tests fail.

No shadow bans for once! Hooray!

How Do I Prevent Shadow Bans??

Shadow bans are often handed out to accounts that display spammy or abusive behaviour. You might not even realise you’re acting in a spammy way, and may end up shadow banned for what you thought was perfectly innocent behaviour. These are some of the behaviours that I suspect may have gotten me shadow banned in the past:

I created a group chat and added a lot of people at the same time. My first (and currently only) ghost ban started around this time. It’s quite common for bots to add a lot of people to a group chat at the same time in order to spam a link or an advertisement. I now try to be careful not to add too many people to a group chat in one day.

I once posted a video and then shared the link repeatedly in the comments of one of my previous posts. The sharing of the same link over and over seems to get very quickly flagged as spammy behaviour. I now try not to share a link more than one time in quick succession, or indeed the same image or text.

I try to censor undesirable words, such as swear words, or words like ‘groomer’ or ‘nonce’. I may type ‘groo mer’ or ‘n0nce’ instead. This is good practise anyway if you’re monetised, as I understand that advertisers don’t like advertising on posts that contain inappropriate words. Since Elon Musk has stated that he considers the word ‘cis’ a slur, it may also be worth censoring this word (or not using it at all).

I tend to tweet a lot during a short space of time. This can be seen as spammy behaviour. I’ve tried to counteract this by using the option to schedule tweets more often. This isn’t available in the app, but is available through a web browser (including your phone browser). I still post just as much, but I can spread them out over a more sensible time frame.

Schedule a post using the ‘schedule’ button on your browser.

There is one interesting thing that I noticed when I had my ghost ban. I had my browser open, and was occasionally swapping between my ghost banned main account @HazelAppleyard_ and my backup account @AppleyardHazel_. After swapping from my main to my back up, I noticed that the back up would end up becoming rate limited. It seemed to be directly caused by swapping back from an account with a ghost ban. After I got my second search suggestion ban (just days after getting rid of my first) I decided to try discontinuing use of other accounts on the same devices as my main, just in case swapping between accounts was having a negative effect.

I’ve also heard that interacting with undesirable users (e.g. those with active reply deboosting) can reflect badly on your account. So as much as I hate it, I’ve stopped interacting with users in the ‘see more replies’ section. (Sorry!)

Simple things, such as having a profile picture, and your account using a lot of auto tweets, can also get you shadow banned.

How Do I Get Rid of Shadow Bans?

The most effective way to get rid of a shadow ban is to log out of your account and not post anything at all until the shadow ban is lifted (usually takes around 3 days). However, this is the nuclear option. This is what I had to do to get rid of my ghost ban (not that there way much point posting anyway, when my comments were completely invisible). However, search suggestion bans can be a bit more forgiving.

I got rid of my most recent search suggestion ban by following the guidance listed above in ‘How Do I Prevent Shadow Bans?’ I was on my best behaviour, and the ban went away by itself.

One thought on “My Unofficial Guide to X Shadow Banning

  1. Being shadowbanned is the worst feeling on social media, literally all of your efforts are hidden, and not good if you use social media for business etc, great guide and some fabulous pointers too here, thank you.

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