Monday, May 06, 2024

Why Did TikTok Ban Me?

A strange thing happened to me recently.

My wife and I started a podcast about real estate at the beginning of the year. Like many podcasts, we began sharing short clips from the episode a little more than a month ago. Some are informative nuggets, and others are pure entertainment. I upload them to TikTok, YouTubeInstagram, and Facebook.

It's all perfectly normal, right?

 Well, one day, I tried logging into TikTok via the browser to upload a new set of podcast clips, but it wouldn't let me. Instead, a tiny banner told me my account "was currently suspended."


I contacted customer service and received an auto-reply instructing me to check my in-app notifications and submit an appeal.

Hi there, Thanks for contacting TikTok! We have received your request about a Content Violation or Ban. If you believe your content was incorrectly removed, please let us know by submitting an appeal in app. Your feedback helps us improve the way we keep our community safe. To submit an appeal: 1. Locate the notification in your TikTok inbox. 2. Tap the notification. 3. Tap Submit an appeal. 4. Follow the instructions provided. Or Go to the video. 2. Tap Community Guidelines violation: See details. 3. Tap Submit an appeal. 4. Follow the instructions provided. For more information on our moderation process, please visit: Please feel free to reach back out if you weren't able to resolve your issue with the steps above. Thank you, The TikTok Team

OK... but I can't log in. I reply to the message saying so. At this point, my thought is that this is only a log-in issue. I sign in with Apple, and perhaps that's the issue?

Nope! Twelve minutes later, they reply with shocking news:

Hi there,

Thanks for contacting TikTok.

We understand how important your account is to you. After further review, your account will remain permanently banned due to a violation of our Integrity and Authenticity policy.

Please note that our Community Guidelines apply to both public and private content, as well as hashtags and links to third party websites. For further information on your account violation, please reference our Community Guidelines:


The TikTok Team

Wait. What?

According to their Integrity and Authenticity policy, there are six ways to get in trouble:

  1. Misinformation: Inaccurate, misleading, or false content that may cause significant harm to individuals or society, regardless of intent.
  2. Civic and Election Integrity: Paid political promotion, political advertising, or fundraising by politicians and political parties (for themselves or others). Or, misinformation about civic and electoral processes, regardless of intent.
  3. Synthetic and Manipulated Media: Synthetic or manipulated media that shows realistic scenes must be clearly disclosed. Synthetic media that contains the likeness of any real private figure. Synthetic media of public figures if the content is used for endorsements or violates any other policy.
  4. Fake Engagement: The trade of services that attempt to artificially increase engagement or deceive TikTok's recommendation system.
  5. Unoriginal Content and QR Codes: Content that violates someone else's intellectual property rights.
  6. Spam and Deceptive Account Behaviors: Account behaviors that may spam or mislead our community.

I gave what felt like a reasonable reply:

Thank you for your prompt response. I appreciate your efforts in maintaining the community guidelines. I'm more than willing to make any necessary adjustments to my content to ensure it aligns with the policies.

Also, I must admit, I'm confused. I read the Community Guidelines, and I don't understand how I violated the Integrity and Authenticity policy. I post short clips of my podcast, which doesn't seem to violate the policy—it's my wife and I talking about investing in real estate.

Is there a particular video/topic that's causing a problem?


But, alas, I didn't receive a response.

I'm honestly unsure where I ran afoul and am genuinely curious about why TikTok banned me.

On one hand, my views were low, and the probability of reaching a potential investor is low, so it's not a huge business loss. And I only occasionally watched videos, so that's a small loss, too.

But on the other hand, come on! This feels unfair. Banning someone seems like a big deal, but I only received canned responses. I get that I'm a speck of a fish in their sea and that automated systems are valuable despite not being perfect. I'd feel a little better if they gave me the impression that an actual human spent 5 minutes verifying the situation and told me why I was banned.

Or, perhaps I need to Judo the situation and use the ban to my advantage rather than oppose it directly.

  • "So controversial that TikTok banned it!"
  • "Results so amazing that TikTok thought it was fake."
  • "I'm focusing on distribution channels where my ideal investors hang out."
  • "I believe in investing in America."

My Judo is a work in progress.

Until then, you can enjoy our controversial podcast clips featuring our amazing results by investing in America on the platforms where the best investors hang out: YouTubeInstagram, and Facebook. They're so good that TikTok didn't feel worthy to show them.