Guest post by Lisa Sicard.
Getting banned on social media in 2021, at least temporarily, has unfortunately become a regular thing for many users. Facebook alone had banned over 1.3 billion accounts in just the three months from October to December of 2020, according to Forbes.
It doesn’t only happen on Twitter or Facebook. It can happen on any social media network today, even the Pinterest channel.
You may be shocked when it happens to you. You go on your favorite social media network to learn you can’t log in or see anything. You panic and wonder what the heck happened? How will I connect with my friends today? And how will I do business without my social media network?
Many people are being banned over on LinkedIn or even on alternative social networks like the Minds network. Yes, it’s happened to me on Twitter, Facebook, and Minds over the past few years.
The Bots Banned Many from Social Media Networks
One thing to note is that you can be banned on any social network by being caught up in the bots. There is nothing you can do to avoid that.
That’s why I always advise never putting all your social media eggs in one basket! Spread them around and be sure to keep your blog as your home base and have an email list (for example ConvertKit offers a forever-free trial account). If you don’t have a blog, you can use Substack to host one. (It’s free!)
Not only that, but for those who are close to you, be sure to have their email addresses or phone numbers in case you lose access to your biggest social network.
Not Following the Rules Can Get You Cut Off
If you don’t follow the rules on Facebook, for example, they will lock you out of your account. But of course, they change the rules almost daily, making it hard to keep up. Recently, they locked my account over a Facebook page image from three years ago!
I never found out why that specific image caused it. It was like any other post I’ve been posting there for the past decade. Prior to that, I was caught up in the bots on Facebook, back in January on my personal account, along with a few other million people. Since then, I’ve had clients locked out of their Facebook accounts for no apparent reason.
Twitter has its own rules for some and not for others. It is hard to keep up with what would be against their rules today. Each time I was in Twitter Jail I was told by Twitter that I had been caught up in the bots.
(Editor’s note: I believe I was shadow banned on Twitter for writing posts like this, but that is notoriously hard to prove. The post was an effort to be helpful, but Jack doesn’t take even constructive criticism well.)
The same happened on the Minds network which not only locked me out but took away my followers and those I followed.
Know the Rules of Each Network
To avoid getting banned from any social network, be sure to know what the rules are! Some networks allow a few errors and will slap a censorship label or warning on your posts. It’s challenging because there are so many ways to get banned.
Often, they will reinstate your account, but you never know how long you will be off the network. If you are dependent on these networks for your business, you could have a loss of income.
Note that if you get kicked off Facebook, you are probably not going to be able to use your Instagram account either. And you will not be able to manage any Facebook pages. That’s why it is so important to have more than one Facebook ad manager for each of your pages.
Recently, I had a client who lost his Facebook account to a ban. But since I managed their Facebook page, I was able to post on it for them. Now, if I were banned again, I could have another admin post for me as well on Facebook pages.
Twitter’s rules are quite extensive. Some of their rules are also not clear cut.
Many of their rules are gray and can be under censorship. Other rules are about following ratios and how many tweets you can tweet in a day.
Furthermore, manipulation and spam are not clear cut to many Twitter users. For example, “You may not use Twitter’s services in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience on Twitter.”
How do you know if you are disrupting someone else’s experience?
According to Facebook, these are the things they are not accepted on their platform:
- Nudity or other sexually suggestive content.
- Hate speech, credible threats, or direct attacks on an individual or group.
- Content that contains self-harm or excessive violence.
- Fake or impostor profiles.
But as anyone who has run into issues with their posts on Facebook—ah, if only it were that simple.
The Pinterest community guidelines claim: “Pinterest isn’t a place for antagonistic, explicit, false or misleading, harmful, hateful, or violent content or behavior. We may remove, limit, or block the distribution of such content and the accounts, individuals, groups, and domains that create or spread it based on how much harm it poses.”
Pinterest goes on to put more rules into place as well in their guidelines. Be sure to read them if you haven’t already.
Also, an interesting side note, Pinterest was the first social network to ban weight loss ads on its platform.
YouTube has a lot of community guidelines. They have so many that they are in chapters.
Did you know the minimum age for a person to use YouTube is 13? That’s one of the many rules on YouTube.
You might think the alternative social network would not have a lot of rules. But you would be wrong. I had read about many users who lost their accounts and thought it was all spam. But then I lost mine, and for no reason.
They did reinstate me, but it was a stark reminder to not rely on one social network. Minds had been delivering traffic to my site as I was part of a blogger group there.
Even the infamous Neil Patel was flagged with a spam charge many years ago on Quora. They were very tough on promotional external links at the time, but have become more lenient in recent years.
Now, a newer core Quora principle, “Be Nice, Be Respectful” (or “BNBR”), requires that people treat other people on the site with civility, respect, and consideration. Respect opposing or differing opinions, beliefs, and conclusions. Try to listen to and understand others you may disagree with. Encourage others on the site to also be welcoming and respectful.
Read more of Quora’s policies here.
Yelp Content Guidelines
Have you ever been the recipient of a bad yelp review? They claim the “best reviews are personal, passionate, and reflect your consumer experience. They offer a rich narrative, a wealth of detail, and a helpful tip or two for other consumers.” You can read all the Yelp guidelines here.
How to Be Proactive if You Lose Your Social Media Account
Again, do not rely on only one social media network! Be sure to post actively across two or (better) three different networks. Also, work to build an email list and contact list compiled in case that day ever comes to your social account. You don’t want to have to scramble to let folks know you are no longer on the network.
Read up and stay current on the latest social media news, and what’s happening that is causing others to get banned on the networks.
Where bans have happened:
Are you surprised to see so many networks have banned people from their social media sites over the past two years? I was surprised at first when I heard about LinkedIn bans, but now nothing surprises me.
Even website hosting companies like Amazon have been banning websites. You may have remembered Parler was banned from the Internet until they could find a new host company last year. Amazon and other web hosts have taken down other websites as well.
What Others Have to Say
According to Susan Poirier from Ace Concierge:
“I agree, Lisa. We also must remember, these are all free platforms, we are at the mercy of their alleged privacy policies, ethics, company culture, professionalism, and operations. When we agree to upload or post anything, we should assume that the platform will use, distribute or ‘allow’ exposure.
Nothing is free. We all agree to open ourselves up to exploitation and privacy violations.
Big tech and social media hold all the cards, all the control. They may slap the hands of their employees, but rest assured, there are much greater issues behind closed doors than some peeping toms.”
Have you been banned from any social media network in the past two years? I’d love to hear about it here in the comments!
Lisa Sicard loves helping others to thrive online through social media, blogging, and SEO. What good is knowledge if you cannot share it with others? She has 30+ years of experience in marketing/advertising with 10 years of experience in content marketing, social media, blogging, and SEO. Check out her latest eBook “How to Tweet and Thrive on Twitter” now on Amazon.