Shadowbanning is one the more useful—and one of the more insidious—tools at the disposal of social media platforms today. Which of those you deem it to be will largely come down to how you use the platform, but it’s still nice to understand how things work, whether they affect you directly or not. But first, the title question;
Yes, YouTube can ban you from commenting. It’s worth remembering that YouTube is a private company and, for all the talk about what they might be doing, they can do whatever they want when it comes to how they manage their platform. If they believe you are violating their terms of service, they can remove you from that service. And they are entitled to change those terms at any time.
When it comes to shadowbanning, we can say with certainty that it exists on YouTube, largely because YouTubers have the power to shadowban commenters themselves. But we may be getting ahead of ourselves here; what is shadowbanning?
What Is Shadowbanning?
Shadowbanning is essentially the same as muting somebody on a social media platform, with the only real difference being that the platform itself is the one doing the muting, not other users.
Unlike blocking or banning someone, the shadowbanned user has no obvious way of checking whether they are shadowbanned. There are third-party services that check for this kind of thing. And, of course, you can always ask someone else on the platform, but without the help of an external party like that, a shadowbanned user will not be able to tell that they have been shadowbanned.
So what happens when you get shadowbanned? For you; nothing. You will be able to continue commenting as though nothing has changed. The difference is no one else will see your comments. To everyone else, it will be as though are just not commenting.
You may get suspicious when your comments are getting no engagement at all, but it will always be possible that people just aren’t paying attention to you.
Am I Shadow Banned On YouTube?
So, how do you tell if you are shadowbanned on YouTube? If you’re the kind of commenter that gets a lot of engagement most of the time and that engagement suddenly stops, you can probably assume you’ve been shadowbanned. If this sudden loss of engagement coincided with you saying something that might have violated YouTube’s community standards, you can up the likelihood of being shadowbanned.
If your comments are suddenly not getting engagement on a specific YouTuber’s videos, that YouTuber has likely decided to mute you from their comments. Unlike any kind of official shadowbanning from YouTube, being banned by a YouTuber doesn’t require any specific behaviour or rule violation. Effectively, YouTubers can shadowban anybody they like for any reason they like from their own channel.
In this case, your only recourses are to either try and contact the YouTuber outside of the comments section and ask them to rethink their decision, or to start up an alternate YouTube account to comment on those videos and try not to do whatever it was that made them shadowbanned you in the first place.
How To Avoid Getting Shadowbanned
The first thing to do is to make sure your comments don’t break any of YouTube’s guidelines. Any kind of abusive behaviour, hate speech, or harassment will likely land you with some kind of punishment, whether it be a suspension, shadowbanning, or outright banning from the platform entirely.
When it comes to being banned by YouTubers themselves, as we mentioned above, it’s entirely up to that YouTuber why they ban people. It could be for swearing in the comments of a family-friendly channel, it could be just that you have an avatar that the YouTuber doesn’t like. The comments section of their videos is there for them to shape, and YouTube does not impose any restriction on how they go about it.
For this reason, we can’t offer any universal advice for not getting banned by a YouTuber other than to not do anything that will rub the community the wrong way. If you’re new to the channel, hold back on commenting until you’ve gotten to know how things are a little. Once you have the lay of the land, you’ll know what you can say without ruffling any feathers in a way that the YouTuber in charge considers acceptable.
Does Shadowbanning Affect My Account?
To our knowledge, being banned from commenting by a YouTuber does not have a detrimental effect on your account as a whole, other than not being able to comment on that specific channel. That being said, if you go around getting yourself banned from every channel you comment on, it will hardly be good for your YouTube experience, and it may bring you to YouTube’s attention, causing them to take action of their own.
If you are shadowbanned by YouTube themselves, however, that means YouTube has already taken notice, and you should be wary of putting any more black marks on your record. A YouTube shadow ban may just be the beginning.
It’s often tempting to use words like “censorship” and “unfair” when talking about YouTube (or any social media platform) and their policies on banning or shadowbanning users. However, it is important to remember that these are private platforms, and they are not beholden to any particular standard when it comes to things like what they allow.
Of course, the world is constantly shifting in this technological age, and it may soon be the case that companies like YouTube have to allow certain (or remove) certain types of comments. For now, however, it is entirely up to YouTube how they manage user-generated content, including comments, and your primary recourse, if you don’t like the way they handle it, is to use another platform.
We realise this isn’t the most constructive recourse due to YouTube being so big, but that is the nature of the world. If you want to use YouTube, you have to play by YouTube’s rules, even if they seem unfair.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.