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Deboosting and Shadow Banning on Facebook and other social media platforms

Project Veritas published an interview with a former Facebook employee revealing, among other things, the fact that Facebook has been censoring information on its platform with functionality called “deboosting”. This functionality enables Facebook to actively limit the reach certain information has by blocking (groups of) people from seeing it — the opposite effect of boosting content on Facebook.

For example, during a live stream done by an individual, Facebook can suppress the feed from being visible to other people, and limit its reach to just their friends. Or they may limit its bandwidth and disable certain features such as the “Like” and “Share” buttons. So you may wonder why your live stream or other content gets so little engagement, maybe even thinking you’re doing something wrong, when in fact it’s Facebook working behind the scenes to actively suppress your content. And the sneaky thing about it is that Facebook doesn’t notify you in any way that your content is being suppressed, as the former Facebook employee confirms in the video interview below.

Deboosting is a form of shadow banning. Normally when you get banned on a social media platform, you know about it because you get notified in some way that you got banned; maybe you can’t login anymore or you can’t post anything and you may even have received a notification about your account being banned. But when you get shadow banned, you’re not given any indication that you’ve been banned. You can log in on the platform as usual, you can post and comment on other people’s posts and everything seems to work fine. But your posts and comments aren’t visible to any other people but yourself. This is a really evil form of censorship, where you think you’re freely expressing yourself, but don’t know that you’re actually being censored. And what can make this even more evil, is when it happens only partially or selectively.

The only way in which people can find out themselves that they’ve been shadow banned is when they notice a lack of engagement on their posts; for example, when nobody reacts to your posts or comments. This may be an indication that people simply aren’t seeing your content. You can then verify if your content is actually visible by using a different account to check if you can see your own content on the other account.

Apart from Facebook I know from my own experience that Reddit also frequently shadow bans users. My own account on Reddit was shadow banned, and I even had an account shadow banned on “Hacker” News. You would think that people who call themselves “hackers” would be capable of dealing with the truth, but if you did you would have been misled. Trust me when I say that true hackers are very rare these days.


  1. Medium suspended my account — Karel Donk (04/04/2019)
  2. Google manipulates search results for mass social engineering — Karel Donk (26/06/2019)
  3. Censorship and Shadow Banning on Reddit — Karel Donk (10/08/2019)
  4. Evidence of Twitter Shadow Banning Users — Karel Donk (16/07/2020)


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