Life In The Shadows — The Era of Shadow Banning

Imagine possessing the talent that cultivates a following of hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Then, imagine spending hours of your day pouring everything you have into the perfect idea. You send the video off, and it immediately gains the viral traction you were expecting. But then five minutes later — it’s taken down. Welcome to the life of a creator.

Shadow banning is nothing new — creators have battled wild, unexpected changes in their engagement across platforms for years. While there have been theories and patterns floating online, there has been no clear statement from any social company about whether or not this is an actual practice.

Regardless, creators and their livelihoods have been ruined. They have seen drastic drop offs in views, likes, and comments, all happening suddenly and without any explanation. These are the currencies of creators, ripped away without explanation. While this has commonly been relayed as a practice to manage users in violations of terms of service — in today’s world it has also been rumored to be a tool to suppress creators that are discussing topics that can be seen as controversial.

While there should be no room for violence and hate speech on any platform (including Clash, read more about how we’re building our community here), recently creator activists have found their content on vital topics like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQIA+ rights will result in a change in engagement.

We’re working to bring the best platform for creators and users alike. We’re fortunate enough to be building with the help of creators, and wanted to share some of the stories we’ve heard directly from people who have been affected.

While some creators are building their brand from scratch, unfortunately some creators have faced backlash from platforms for not participating in and/or leaving their creator programs.

“After leaving, I posted a video to my 400k followers that only got about 120 views in an hour, which seems almost statistically impossible,” said Cole Hersch. “I don’t know how long my account has been affected, because I just kind of stopped posting out of frustration. I’m excited about Clash because the leadership takes a more hands-on approach with their creators, and likely would never give any of them the corporate cold shoulder.”

On the other hand, creators are sometimes left even more in the dark about why their accounts are being shadow banned. We spoke to a creator, whose content receives hundreds of thousands or millions of views consistently, but recently she has struggled to get her content to perform.

This creator and a friend recently realized that her content is unable to be shared or downloaded, which prevents it from getting the level of attention and engagement it normally receives. While she has plenty of ideas about why her content is being flagged, she has been unable to receive any feedback from the platform itself.

“I’m not sure what is happening, but I know I’m not the only one,” she said. “It’s also happening to my friend and roommate, who also has a verified account.”

While this creator is able to theorize about her account, she is also taking every step she can think of to try to find a solution — but has yet to find any path to answers. She’s reached out via other social networks, tried the platform’s contact page, and has had her management reach out on her behalf as well. All these steps appear to have fallen on deaf ears, but thankfully her followers truly appreciate her.

“I’m really lucky I have such an engaged audience,” she said. “Even when my content can’t be shared normally, I’m lucky to get plenty of views and comments from my direct followers.”

At Clash, these are some of the reasons that we’re building our platform from the ground up with creators. We’ve been in their shoes. We understand that they are the backbone of our business. We want them to be able to earn their fair share. This can all be done with radical transparency, and clear paths to monetization from the get go. It’s time to take creator’s side.



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