How Twitter Users Use “Shadow-Ban” Claims Against You

“Please like my post if can you see it!” No. Just no.

4 min readNov 14, 2020


Photo by Ravi Sharma on Unsplash

It is no secret that the #WritingCommunity side of Twitter is often criticized for attention-seeking behavior. In fact, many writers have left these prestigious lists just for the sake of not appearing quite so ‘thirsty’ in the writer space. Many feel that what started as a way to connect with and support fellow writers has devolved into a near constant follower-grab. Now, a sub-section has appeared within the community that is commonly known for its #writerlifts and other follow-for-follow trends: the shadow-ban accounts.

What Is A Shadow-Ban?

Shadow-bans are discreet and conspiratorial bans placed on social media users. The general idea is that a social media site (or algorithm — because social media now belongs to the bots and the Russians) will ban a user for nefarious reasons. It means that the social media service is basically making your content disappear from the feeds. But, is it real? Yes and no.

The Truth About Shadows-Bans

The fact that technology allows for bans is an automatic justification for the possibility of shadow-bans. But, I still don’t really believe in them. To be clear, I don’t believe that social media sites lack the ability to ban a specific account. I’ve worked in system design and I know it’s true. Still, I can’t imagine that even the most nefarious organization is banning a person who is following 20,687 people and has 19,768 followers because of their dazzling content. Why? Because I know how it works. Follow-for-follow people generally aren’t inspirational. They are the accounts people follow back to boost their numbers and then mute because their posts are weirdly personal or overly generic. These accounts might have reach on paper, but the algorithms know a con when they see one.

Do shadow-bans exist? Absolutely. Are they targeting everyday members of the Writing Community on Twitter? Not likely. Suggesting that you are being shadow-banned when you have no real reach, fanbase, or influence just seems a bit silly, so why do I see several tweets a day from the Writing Community crew claiming that they have been shadow-banned? Easy. It forces engagement.