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Twitter (X) Shadowbans

16 March 2024
by theoz
twitter ass

A shadow ban is Twitter's method of reducing an account's visibility without fully suspending it.

It's a sneaky and cowardly way to censor content that advertisers might disapprove of without outright banning accounts in order to keep numbers of active users inflated and use these figures to sell ad space.

When subjected to a shadow ban, tweets and replies from the affected account become less prominent in users' feeds.

Apparently this happens when Twitter suspects an account of being automated or when the user breaches the platform's Terms of Service.

Exactly how this happens is a mystery. There's never any warning or explanation and no recourse to dispute.

How shadowbans are applied is inconsistent. Some accounts seem to post tweets that blatantly breach terms of service for years with zero repercussions. Other entirely innocuous looking accounts get shadowbanned seemingly at random.

Note: I'm never going to refer to Twitter as 'X'. That's just not good branding to have your company named something that's always going to look and sound as awkward as 'X' in a sentence.

Twitter used to deny the existence of shadowbans despite proof that this was happening. Eventually they did admit that it is their policy to shadowban sex workers.

How to check for a shadow ban on Twitter

The only tool I know of that can detect shadowbans on twitter is Yuzurisa.

Types of shadow ban

Search Suggestion Ban

This seems to be the most common type of shadowban whereby your account is omitted from search suggestions and people's search results if they don't follow you or when accessed while logged out. Engagement from existing followers may remain steady as your tweets continue to appear in their feeds. You will notice a decline in new follower acquisition.

Search Bans

These result in the complete concealment of your tweets from search results, irrespective of the quality filter settings. This includes the suppression of hashtags. Consequently, there's a notable decrease in both follower engagement and the acquisition of new followers.

Ghost Ban

This is commonly known as a traditional shadowban or thread banning. It combines a search ban with the complete removal of reply tweets from the affected user in threads. While everything appears normal to the affected user, many others are unable to view their reply tweets. This ban is typically imposed due to behaviours such as excessive tweeting or following. This type of ban appears to be temporary for active accounts.

Reply Deboosting

When Twitter's algorithms detect potential harmful behaviour from an account, it conceals their replies behind a barrier that's only revealed when users click "Show more replies." This action is personalized, meaning tweets from accounts you follow are not hidden. Therefore, we employ an impartial reference account devoid of followers to ascertain if tweets within a thread can be accessed without clicking "Show more replies." Occasionally, Twitter categorizes accounts as offensive, leading to their replies being concealed behind a secondary barrier within the "Show more replies" section.

What to do if you're shadowbanned

Should I pay for twitter blue?

Don't bother paying for twitter blue. Doing so will not remove a shadowban. Only pay for it if you need it for some reason. I use it on my Oz account so I can send messages to people who don't follow me. I use this as a reddit moderator to verify people before approving them for the sexworkersonly subreddit.

Interact with non SW accounts

I've seen this suggested. The idea is that twitter has an algorithm that rates your account for tie strength. ie if you only interact with other SWs, that could increase the chances of shadowbans. It's worth a try but be careful who you interact with and how. If they always ignore you, or worse, they block you or report you, that's not going to work in your favour.

Post text only tweets as well as images

It's likely that if all your tweets are images, especially images which an algorithm detects as nudity or likely to be sexual in nature, that's going to increase the chances of a shadowban.

Some people make a habit of posting multiple innocent text only tweets in between posting images.

You can also try posting images that aren't in any way alluring or enticing in between posting something more designed to appeal to clients.

Comment on other people's tweets

This is good self promotion anyway since it means their followers are more likely to see your comments. It's also possible that if you never comment on anything and never like or retweet anyone, using twitter for the sole purpose of posting pics of yourself, that's going to look more like a bot account to their algorithm.

Don't do anything automated

Using third party apps and sites to post for you or to follow or unfollow is easily detected. Best not to.

Be wary of using engagement groups

Also easily detected and if it looks like you're trying to game their system, that's not going to look good. Maybe ok if the group is located somewhere outside twitter eg reddit or discord.

Don't post links

Some internal code was released a few years ago showing how twitter treats links in tweets. It seems that unless you have a huge following and massive engagement, all links you post will be treated as spam and result in that tweet being hidden in feeds and search.

Don't use hashtags

As above. Using multiple hashtags in a tweet is treated as spam.

Links in Bio

I recommend using linktree, a link aggregator. You can out your links to your website, insta, reddit, email etc on your linktree and then put the linktree link in your twitter bio. If you put your website link, or especially a link to a directory ad or content sales site, directly into your bio, that's a great way to get shadowbanned.


When you're shadowbanned, the only new followers you'll get are people who find the link to your twitter somewhere else, eg on your website. Also, bots. You'll get very generic looking followers with attractive profile pics, or no profile pic at all, they have made up sounding names, they'll be following 4 or 5 thousand  accounts but have less than 100 followers of their own. These accounts may look like sex workers but will never have a link to a personal site or a linktree in their bio. If there's any link in their bio at all, it will be to some webcam site you've never heard of. Just block them. If you do follow them, you'll immediately get a message trying to scam you.

Change your profile picture and banner

It's very unlikely any human twitter employee will ever look at your profile but their algorithm does know how much skin you're showing. Less skin means less chances of shadowbans. It also means your profile is less appealing to clients. If you can't show anything, what's the point? As I said, it's all wildly inconsistent. You might show an ankle and get a shadowban so you never grow past a few hundreds of followers. Someone else shows hardcore porn and has millions of followers.

Delete all your tweets, retweets, likes, bio and profile pic

I've done this a few times using the Social Erase plugin for chrome. I know I said not to do anything automated but if you're already shadowbanned and it doesn't drop off after a few weeks, you may as well just wipe your account clean, log out, stay off twitter for a week or two, then log back in and see if the shadowban is gone.

Deactivate your twitter temporarily

You'll enjoy the digital detox. You can deactivate your twitter for up to 30 days. Then it gets deleted and your account is gone for good. If deleting all your tweet setc doesn't work, try deactivating, wait a few weeks, then activate it again.

So why bother using twitter at all?

Clients do look at whether you're active on social media or not as an indicator that you're genuine, enthusiastic and invested in your reputation. Having links to socials on your website and putting a certain amount of effort into our social media presence is at this stage something most of us do feel the need to tolerate. It does sting knowing that the work we put into sharing content on twitter converts directly into a dollar value for Elon while his company is openly anti sex work. Hypocrites. I hope this won't always be the case. Honestly, I'd be quite happy if twitter decided tomorrow to outright ban all sex workers. Without us all the clients would leave too thus creating a giant gap in the market which could easily be filled by some other platform that is actually pro sex work.

Work on your own Blog instead

Don't worry about Elon. I'm sure he'll manage without us. Take the time and effort you put into tweets and spend it on your own website. Clients can search for the word "blog" here on Sex Worker Search et voila, just like a twitter feed only instead of supporting a giant, evil, megalomaniac corporation, you're supporting independent providers.

More Information

Twitter told a straight up lie in saying that they do not shadowban.

This reddit post is from 2021 and a lot of the information seems to be outdated now but it's still worth a look.